Dawson-Bryant Board of Education picks new leadership

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2003

The new leadership of the Dawson-Bryant Board of Education hopes to continue the successes began by the previous officers as the board hosted its 2003 organizational meeting Monday and looked towards the future.

The board unanimously elected Jim Beals as the 2003 president. Les Boggs was elected as vice president.

"I hope to maintain what we have had for the last year," Beals said. "The school system has progressed academically and we hope to keep building on the success the school has had in previous years."

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Previous president Debbie Drummond and board member Kay Swartzwelder were appointed to the Athletic Board. Boggs was also appointed as the Legislative Liaison.

Superintendent James Payne announced that he will visit Wellston today to meet with Dr. Susan Zelman, Ohio's superintendent of public instruction, to discuss, among other things, the DeRolph IV ruling.

Despite this most recent ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court, Payne said he still strongly believes that the issue is nowhere near resolved.

"I do not think the legislature has done their jobs and I think someone needs to be held in contempt," he said. "Just because you are born in Southern Ohio does not mean you shouldn't have the same opportunities as students in other districts."

Everyone needs to work together to create a fair funding system that is not overly reliant on property taxes, or else school districts like Dawson-Bryant will always fall behind the richer districts, he said.

"It is important for us to continue to be vigilant in understanding the importance of changing this unconstitutional system," Payne said. "We have not wavered. Our goals are the same as 12 years ago."

"The legislature is missing the point," he said. "Additional money is great, but you have to change the system."

Payne also announced the preliminary attendance numbers for this school year and said he was pleased with the improvement.

In January of 2002, overall attendance in the school system was 94.7 percent. As of Dec. 18, the attendance rate had increased to 95.3 percent.

"We are making improvements at having students in the classrooms," he said. "Research shows that if they are in school (consistently) they learn more."

The superintendent also updated the board members on the eminent domain suit that must be resolved before construction of the new Dawson-Bryant Elementary School can begin.

The Molter family owns five acres of land adjacent to the school, bordering State Route 243 and County Road 6. Currently, Judy's Giovanni's Pizza and a rental property sit on part of the land. For personal, sentimental and financial reasons, the Molders had been reluctant to sell the property.

The school district filed an eminent domain suit last year and has been in negotiations for months. There has been successful mediation between the two sides and the attorneys are trying to close the deal. It could be finalized sometime this month, Payne said.

A construction meeting will be hosted later this month to finalize the specifications, but it is still unclear how or if this legal action will delay the overall project, he said.