It’s official. The Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday expressing its intent to terminate its membership with the South Central Ohio League.
The school district has been a member of the SCOL each year it has been in existence since it was established in 1923. The league disbanded from 1932 to 1936 and from 1993 to 2002.
Superintendent Jim Smith said the boards of education from the other four schools seceding from the eight-team league – Chillicothe, Greenfield McClain, Miami Trace and Washington – already have, or will, pass resolutions identical to the one Hillsboro passed. He said the Jackson Board of Education will pass one somewhat different because it is not currently part of the SCOL.
Jackson plans to join the five schools seceding from the SCOL to form a new league, or possibly merge with another league.
“The reason (for passing the resolutions) is to bind the six districts together so that technically, one of them could not pull out and leave the others high and dry,” Smith told the board before a vote was taken on the resolution. “This has been a long, strange journey, and not a pleasurable one, but it is where we are. We had to make a choice one way or the other and these are our closest rivals.
“I regret having to bring this to you really.”
The board voted 4-0 to approve the resolution, although board member Bill Myers hesitated before voting yes. Board member Tom Milbery was absent from the meeting. The other board members are Sam Barnhouse, Terry Britton and Beverly Rhoads.
Smith said the new league would begin play during the 2017-18 school year.
“The thinking is there is still some play in this because the Clinton County schools will likely join another league,” Smith said.
The three Clinton County schools who are not seceding from the SCOL are Clinton-Massie, East Clinton and Wilmington.
On Thursday, those three schools were officially invited to join the Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference. They have until May 1 to make a decision.
Smith suggested that if the three Clinton County schools join another league, the new league the other six schools are forming could possibly be a variation of the SCOL. He also said that since the new league is about a year and a half away from beginning play, other schools could be added to mix. He added that Hillsboro will “probably” continue to play the three Clinton County schools in non-league football games.
“I will keep you up to date as this thing moves,” Smith told the board.
In other news from the meeting, curriculum specialist Alicia Sellins said Hillsboro recently received results from last year’s State Report Card tests.
“At the moment we’re pretty disappointed at how our report card looks, but were not alone in the feeling that way,” Sellins said.
She said last year was the first time the tests were taken largely online. She said there was a disparity between the scores of students who took the tests online and those who took the tests on paper, with those taking the tests on paper having overall better results.
“Actually, we have a very high number of high achievers,” Sellins said, adding that on the other hand, students that are struggling are really struggling.
She said the schools is looking at ways to fix the disparity.
About 30 percent of Hillsboro students score really well on the tests, Sellins said, but the lowest 20 to 30 percent really need help.
“These are kids coming to kindergarten that can’t recognize their letters,” she said.
Smith said the early childhood and primary schools are where the main issues are. Sellins said the school is seeing test scores drop from the time students enter kindergarten through the next couple grades.
“There has to be come instructional component to that,” she said.
During committee reports, Smith said the school has hired a general contractor for the new weight room/wrestling building that will be located behind the high school/middle school and the new concession stand/restrooms that will be located near the front of the new track/soccer complex. He said construction should begin March 23.
He said the fencing around the basketball courts on the back side of the school, as well as the basketball goals, have been taken down and placed in storage, and that the concrete pad left behind will basically form the foundation of the new weight room/wrestling building.
Smith also reported that bids will go out soon to repair the road that runs behind the elementary school.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.