By Janie Southard
Adult education along with county education services located at Franklin school in Montezuma?
Could happen in the not-too-distant future if all plans come together.
"There's a huge need here for adult education and Tri Star has shown no big interest in taking on the program," Superintendent Eugene Linton told board members at Thursday night's Mercer County Education Service Center meeting.
Linton said the need for adult education classes was discussed at this week's superintendents' meeting as well as the possibility of locating all of ESC operations at the Montezuma school, now leased by Coldwater schools for classroom space while that district undergoes a construction project. The ESC offers several programs, such as special education, preschool, gifted education and psychological services, to all schools in the county.
"ESC currently operates in several locations. Franklin school would give us a central location for administration office, preschool, adult education and so forth," Linton said. All loose ends will be tied up at the end of 2005, when the ESC board will own the Otis building on Market Street in Celina where it currently houses administrative offices. Also in 2005, the lease runs out on the Galleria space where the ESC operates the Mercer County Alternative School for at-risk and suspended students, and Coldwater's lease on Franklin runs out.
Linton speculated that Celina City Schools, current owner of the Franklin property, may eventually be interested in another lease or even selling the building. Celina stopped using the elementary school in May 2003 due to decreasing enrollment.
ESC would hire a coordinator for the adult program, perhaps an ex-director of a vocational program, Linton said.
Big partners in the undertaking could be area businesses that already have expressed a need to Linton for adult classes in Spanish, sign language, welding and various other trades.
"Of course, we're looking a couple years down the road. But there's money to be made in adult education," Linton said.
After eight years service on the ESC board, President Janice Fiely has turned in her resignation effective at the end of the year. Fiely cited family reasons but said serving on the board has been a "very gratifying experience."
"The work our staff does to fulfill the special needs of our young people is truly outstanding," she wrote.
The board's task now is to fill the vacant seat by January 31. As Fiely is from the Fort Recovery area, board members will tend to look south for the new member, although anyone interested is welcome to contact the ESC office.
The board also:
´ Hired John Dieringer for snow removal service.
´ Approved a bus driver certificate for Ronald E. Hertel at Marion Local Schools.
´ Approved a no-cost contract with VARTEC, a company providing technical assistance on an a la carte basis.