Springboro moving first-graders to alleviate overcrowding

The district had considered other options, including redistricting.

The Springboro school board voted 3-2 on Thursday to move all the district’s first-graders to Clearcreek Elementary School, joining kindergartners and preschoolers in an early learning center.

The move, effective with the next school year, is expected to alleviate overcrowding problems at Five Points Elementary School.

The vote split along the lines established by the last board election.

The new members elected in November 2013, Ron Malone, Dave Stuckey and Charles Anderson, voted to move the first-graders into an early-learning center, to be established at Clearcreek, a school on Ohio 741, between the historic downtown and high school-junior high complex, near the center of the district.

The two incumbents, Jim Rigano and David Petroni,voted against the move.

Next Superintendent Todd Petrey said the district needed to deal with overpopulation at Springboro High School in coming years.

“Our high school is going to be extremely overcrowded,” he said after winning approval for moving the first-graders to Clearcreek.

Over the past month, the board has discussed how to respond to overcrowding at Five Points, blamed on population growth in the northeastern part of the district along Ohio 48 sprawling south from the Montgomery-Warren county line.

On Saturday, Petrey and Business Manager John Pennell laid out their latest proposal, an alternative to redistricting, envisioned as a short-term solution to student population growth in the growing district.

At $165,000 over two years, redistricting was the least expensive option, although latter calculations evened this comparison.

Rigano still favored redistricting, citing the district’s tight budget and questions about how much state funding would be coming to the district through Gov. John Kasich’s latest budget.

Petroni also questioned additional spending of $175,000 a year with district finances in question.

“The timing feels wrong,” he said.

After parents questioned the proposed redistricting lines, the administrators promoted the early-learning center option during a heated work session last Saturday, pointing to educational benefits and relatively small difference in projected costs.

“There’s room to expand at Clearcreek,” Stuckey added Thursday.

Parents facing redistricting favored the early-learning center option, but none spoke before Thursday’s vote.