WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley Community Local School District Board of Education members and administrators discussed plans to begin offering preschool services to district residents during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, April 27.
Superintendent Scott Cottingim updated the board on plans for the district’s new preschool program.
“It is really filling up quickly,” Cottingim said of the waitlist for the program. “It’s been a massive undertaking requiring a whole lot of research, and we’re still learning.”
“We only get a chance to launch this once, so we want to get it right,” Cottingim continued.
Board member Jason DeLong asked Cottingim to elaborate on the reasons for the district to begin offering preschool services. Twin Valley previously operated a preschool program in cooperation with the Preble County Educational Service Center.
“We were paying a fairly large number to the ESC on a yearly basis,” DeLong said. “Well into the six figures.”
Cottingim indicated that financial considerations were involved in the decision, as well as the desire to attract new students to Twin Valley.
“It’s dollars and cents reasons, as well as – we’re trying to really springboard this into drawing kids to our school,” Cottingim said. “Down the road we’ll hopefully be able to expand from one preschool unit to another preschool unit, with the hope of drawing in some of our open enrollment kids, and some of our homeschool kids, so they can realize the experience they can get at Twin Valley.”
DeLong seemed enthusiastic about the program.
“These are our kids – why not educate them ourselves?” DeLong asked.
Cottingim expressed similar sentiments.
“I’m confident that it’s going to be a win-win,” he said.
In Other Business
Technology Coordinator Derrick Myers informed the board that all students in grades K-6 will receive Chromebooks during the 2021-22 school year. 7-12 students are already on a “1-to-1” model, according to Myers; the devices will be collected and stored alphabetically over the summer, so that each student receives the same Chromebook next year.
The district has also eliminated “loaners,” according to Myers – extra devices that are loaned out to students who forget to bring theirs to school.
Finally, the board voted to renew its lease agreement with the Butler County Educational Service Center, which operates a Head Start program at Twin Valley. DeLong and board member Matt Lunsford cast dissenting votes; DeLong took issue with the program being allowed to take up space in district facilities rent-free.
Board member Christine Bitner disagreed.
“I think it’s something that benefits our school, and it gives us the opportunity to service 17 more kids,” Bitner said of the Head Start program. “They’re not paying to lease our space, but they are serving the children in our community, and that’s a free service for those kids. So I think we benefit, even though we’re not making any money on the program.”
DeLong agreed that the program was a benefit to the district.
“I’m not against the Head Start program, but we’re a K-12 building, and our tax dollars are for that,” DeLong said. “We’re adding a preschool that I’m 100 percent behind. They bring a lot to the table; I just think that if they’re going to be housed in this building, we should get dollars from them.”
The motion to renew the Butler ESC’s lease was ultimately approved by a margin of 3-2.
Twin Valley Community School District Board of Education meetings take place the fourth Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the High School Media Center.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish