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April 1, 2022 Superintendent Update

1 April 2022
As is typical of Ohio weather, we have seen the promise of spring only to be reminded that cold weather still has its occasional grip on us. I have yet to see Forsythias in bloom. I am hopeful that we will not see three snows per the old saying. As you may recall, January and early February were fairly brutal in regards to temperature. Fortunately, I timed lambs to arrive at the Larcomb farm closer to Easter this year rather than the late January/early February timeframe that we usually see their arrivals. I certainly did not miss lambs born on zero degree mornings this year! However, I would take a moment to brag a little that we typically do not lose lambs for any reason due to vigilance and good stewardship.

Speaking of good stewardship, our $19-million-dollar Junior/Senior High School project is nearing completion ahead of time and under budget. The academic wing is complete. The only major pieces left are replacing the gymnasium floor and bleachers this summer, as well as landscaping and paving parking lots.

As you may recall through many conversations through the years, the current Elementary building was originally built as a Grades 5-8 building that opened in time for the 2007-2008 school year due to the generosity of East Knox voters through a bond is-sue. The design was such that an addition would be added to the west end of the building at a future date when it was possible to do so. The Bladensburg building closed at the end of the 2012-2013 school year for financial reasons. Grades K-6 staff and students have been housed in what is now the Elementary building since that time.
East Knox received federal monies through COVID-19 initiatives since 2020 along with schools across the United States. The bulk of these monies came through three rounds of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). The District received just over $3.2 million last summer/early fall in ESSER III funds from the federal government. The Board is able to use $2.6 million of these funds towards a $5.4 million project to build additional Elementary educational space without any additional cost to our taxpayers. How is the Board able to do that without asking for more money? Voters approved a continuing Permanent Improve-ment fund years ago that the Board utilizes for expenses allowed by law including such things as new construction (i.e. a permanent improvement). The Board will use those monies in coordination with the ESSER III monies to ensure our students’ needs are met for decades to come.

The Board continues its work with the architect firm Fanning-Howey and Elford Construction in planning the proposed Elementary project that will commence upon final Board approval that may occur as early as their May Board meeting. The project will include eight new classrooms that will greatly alleviate current over-crowded conditions within the building. The new addi-tion should be ready for students and staff at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year if the Board moves forward with the project.

Once again, it continues to be an exciting time for our East Knox community. Our students will continue to thrive thanks to the generosity, foresight and thoughtfulness of this incredible community that makes us all proud to be Bulldogs!

Steve Larcomb, Supt.