Marietta board visits Putnam School

The Marietta City Schools Board of Education received an update on projects at Putnam Elementary School this year, as the board held its regular meeting there Monday.

The session opened with renditions of “Shake the Papaya” and “One World” from the 26-member Putnam Choir, under the direction of teacher Scott Reeder.

Following the entertainment Putnam Elementary principal Jona Hall spoke about recent improvements including additional parking in back of the facility and a vehicle lane for parents dropping their children off for school.

“It’s so much safer now to let kids off at school or to pick them up after classes,” Hall told the board members.

She also thanked the board for approving additional parking spaces on the school property, noting the upgrade has eliminated parking in the yards of neighboring homes, which has been a concern in the past.

In addition Hall said the school will be erecting new playground equipment this summer, and she suggested the addition of a gazebo at one end of the current playground area.

“We have $9,733 in funding for the gazebo from the Parent Teacher Organization and individual donations,” she said. “We set a goal for the fundraiser at $12,000.”

Hall said the gazebo, which would be modeled on a similar structure at the playground next to Washington Elementary School, would provide shade protection for children on the playground as well as provide a location where outdoor classes can be held.

She said the gazebo project is being done in conjunction with students from the Washington County Career Center.

In other business, school board member Bill Hutchinson noted work on the expansion of Marietta High School should begin soon.

“Work should start on expanding the high school next week, so we can be ready when classes begin again next fall,” he said.

Earlier this month the board approved a contract worth nearly $600,000 to expand and renovate the high school so students won’t have to leave the building to change classes.

Also on Monday, director of curriculum and technology Ruth Kluse reported that the district would receive funding for three math coaches through the Ohio Department of Education and The Ohio State University.

She said the coaches would be hired for a two-to-three-year commitment and they would be stationed at Marietta Middle School, Harmar Elementary School and Marietta High School.

During a presentation of the district’s five-year financial forecast Monday, board treasurer Matt Reed noted the state budget has not yet been approved for this year, which makes financial projection difficult for schools.

“Marietta schools were originally expected to get an increase of $800,000 or more in state support in the next school year, but then the legislature cut the budget to about half that amount,” he said. “I think we will get some funding increase, but probably not $800,000. I think it will be closer to $300,000 or $400,000 for fiscal year 2014. But we should know more by the end of June.”