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Local School Earns Ranking

May 10, 2012

ST. MARYS — A local high school netted bronze in a national magazine’s ranking of high schools across the country.

During his report to the board of education, St. Marys Instruction Director Bill Steinbrunner noted St. Marys Memorial High School received a bronze rating in the U.S. News and World Report’s national rankings of best high schools.

“They evaluated this year nearly 22,000 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia,” Steinbrunner said, noting Nebraska did not participate. “Schools were awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal based on state proficiency standards and how well their students are prepared for college and several other factors.”

Gold went to the top 500 schools in the nation, silver went to high-performing schools with lower college readiness and bronze went to high-performing schools based on state exam performance.

“St. Marys Memorial was ranked in the bronze category,” Steinbrunner said. “Basically, a bronze ranking places St. Marys Memorial in the top 10 to 22 percent of high schools in the United States, ranking somewhere between 2,008 and 4,877 out of 21,776 total schools.”

He added Celina had a similar rank and no area schools earned a gold ranking. Several area schools netted silver ratings.

“We are easily within the top 25 percent and possibly somewhere close to the top 10 percent of schools in the nation as ranked by the U.S. News and World Report magazine,” Steinbrunner said.

“I think it’s commendable. It shows that we are getting things right, it shows our kids are working hard, our staff is working hard, we are making good progress. Obviously we’d love to be in that top 500, we’d love to get that gold ranking or be in the top 10 in the nation, but we are working and I just want to recognize the efforts of our students, staff and family and community for that matter for what I consider to be a commendable and obviously high ranking when compared to the entire country.”

During committee reports, board member Ralph Wiley spoke on the efflorescence/calcium carbonate issue with the splitface veneer on the high school-middle school. Wiley noted — if the board decides to choose an option to replace the current veneer — it would be co-funded through the state.

“I want to make sure that everyone understands the estimates and the costs that were discussed and the potential option the district has,” Wiley said.

“Although the estimate to completely replace the splitface block and replace with brick was the highest, I think $1.7 million, this is a co-funded project, so the district would not incur the entire cost of that if it so desired to do that.”

He added the blocks are currently being tested to see if the water repellant supposed to be in the block is actually in it and if the blocks were manufactured to specifications. Business Manager Kurt Kuffner noted the district will also be receiving an “extensive” written report in addition to the test results.

Wiley encouraged residents to contact board members, administrators or Kuffner about what they believe the district should do with the splitface — whether it be replace it, paint it or do nothing.

“We really want to know what the community desires to do,” Wiley said.

“If it’s not a big deal to have a little white powder ... Or if there are other options presented.”

Even if the splitface is replaced with new splitface, Wiley noted the efflorescence could be back.

“This block is nice, but there are no guarantees if you replace it that it won’t happen again,” Wiley said. “It’s much like concrete, it cracks.”

He stressed the efflorescence does not affect the building’s structure — it is strictly the veneer.

In other business, board members also:

• Approved the 2012 graduation list of St. Marys Memorial High School seniors as submitted.

• Approved two waiver days as allowed by the Ohio Department of Education.

• Authorized Artistic Inc. DBA as Artistic Concrete Coatings to install a protector flake industrial epoxy flooring system in both locker rooms at the new athletic complex to be encumbered by the Permanent Improvement fund.

Board members entered into executive session to discuss the appointment or employment of a public employee or official. No action was taken when board members reconvened into regular session.

The next meeting of the St. Marys Board of Education will be at 7:30 p.m. June 13 at the performing arts center.

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