Edison Local Board of Education officials said it is too soon to tell how big a hit the district will take in its coffers amid rumors surrounding the potential sale or closure of Energy Harbor’s W.H. Sammis Plant in Stratton.
School board members discussed the news during the March 17 regular board session at Edison High School but said so far funding matters remain in the clear. Superintendent Bill Beattie said he had yet to confirm the news of the potential shutdown, which is reportedly eyed for June of 2023, with company leaders and until then the district can only wait and see.
“There are two buckets,” Beattie said. “There’s real estate tax and the public utility property tax. Until they decide what’s going on, we have no clue.”
While the property tax loss could fall within the $2 million range, officials were unsure how it would impact the public utility tax totals. Beattie said they still need more information to get a better picture of the situation.
One positive note is the district has completed most of its projects and will not be affected at this time. Updates such as the unified athletic complex at EHS are nearing an end and are already paid.
On a similar note, Beattie said the complex is edging closer to completion and the softball and baseball fields are ready for play.
“It’s winding down. We have been practicing and holding scrimmages and they open March 28,” he said. “We’re very excited about everything coming to fruition and getting on the fields to play. We’ve been happy with the construction process and will have very classy facilities.”
The final piece of the puzzle is the new 1,500-seat gym, which could be finished within the next six weeks. Once it is done, school sports will be fully combined at the Richmond campus along with a multi-purpose athletic field for football, soccer and track as well as a new parking lot. The baseball and softball fields have been located at Jefferson State Lake near Richmond and athletes have held track practice and meets and junior high basketball practice about 10 miles away at Stanton in Hammondsville. Officials said centralizing the activities would improve safety for students and save time for parents who must travel through the area to attend events.
Now, leaders are looking to create a 1.5-mile nature course on the exterior of the school property. The site will run behind the football field, into the woods and to the new fieldhouse. Beattie said a request for qualifications (RFQ) has been filed and an architect and engineering firm could be selected by the next meeting.
Among other business, the board:
–Approved the resignation of Elizabeth Bufkin, multi-handicapped aide at Stanton Elementary;
–Accepted the resignations of Gretchen Yanssens and Lori Potkrajac-Roberts for retirement purposes effective June 1 and Aug. 1, respectively;
–Placed Jim Zorbini on the bus driver sub list retroactive to March 4;
–Approved a memorandum of understanding and transition agreement between Family Children First Council, Columbiana County Head Start and Jefferson County School Districts regarding services for children with disabilities;
–Accepted a $500 donation from Joe and Lisa Bruzzese for the Sheriff Fred J. Abdalla Scholarship; $3,000 from the Charles and Thelma Pugliese Foundation for scholarships; and $100 from the McBane Insurance Agency for John Gregg Elementary student needs;
–Approved Derek Peck and Melaina LeMasters for the substitute teachers’ list and Vicki Casto as aide/secretary at John Gregg on the non-certified sub list; –Set the next meeting for April 21 at 6 p.m. at John Gregg.