Springfield Trustee Dean Young swore in David Hoover as the township's full-time police chief during the Board of Trustees June 16 meeting.

Hoover was the police chief for the department from 2002-06 before retiring in October 2006 after 31 years with the Springfield Police Department. Recently, he had been working with the Springfield Local Schools on truancy program.

Hoover replaces former Police Chief John Smith, who submitted his letter of resignation during the June 2 trustees meeting.

TOWPATH TRAIL HIGH SCHOOL

Following the meeting, there was a public hearing for zoning text amendment changes for the property at 2459 Canfield Road. Towpath Trail High School would like to open a dropout recovery school at the location.

Several Towpath Trail representatives spoke, including John Stack, president of Cambridge Education Group which is the management company that operates the school. He described the typical students the school works with as have either fallen behind in traditional settings or have either dropped out of school or are going to dropout. He Towpath Trail High School serves about 250 students at a location on West Market Street in Akron.

Stack said the school receives $5,900 in state funding for each student. He also said that it also met the standards set by the Ohio Department of Education for a drop-out recovery school on its last report card which was for the year 2014-15 school year. Stack said the school met the majority of areas, including testing, gap closing and six- and eight-year graduation rates.

"We are graduating students who have dropped out and at a rate that the Ohio Department of Education deems as meeting standards," said Stack, who added that the school has graduated 122 former high school drop outs since 2012.

The Ohio Department of Education's School Report Card shows the school did meet Test Passage Rate with 43.1 percent of students passing all five tests and in Gap Closing (how well students are doing in reading and math) at 27.7. The school did not meet standards in progress.

According to the Report Card, the school met graduations standards for six-year (12.8 percent) and eight-year graduation rates (10.8) percent, but not in four (5.9 percent), five (10.8 percent), seven (10.3 percent) and the combined graduation rating, which was 10.8 percent. The site states the overall school rating "does not meet standards" for a dropout recovery school at last report for the 2014-15 school year.

Matthew Spencer of City Architecture in Cleveland presented information on the improvements the school plans to make to the 15,000-square-foot building. At this time, the company would renovate 9,000-square-feet of the building. It will mainly work on the interior of the building, but plans to paint the exterior of the building, adding lighting outdoors and add a fence and curbs to make a defined entrance and exit. The investment in the building and updates is to be between $700,00 and 800,000.

The Springfield Board of Education prepared a resolution asking for the trustees not to allow the school to open up in the township.

Board member Larry Petry read a statement from Board of Education President Dave Hofer stating, "Although we understand and respect the need for zoning appeal hearings, we believe exceptions or changes should only be made when it would result in a positive outcome for our community. Any changes that would ultimately allow this charter school to move into our community would, in our opinion, have a negative impact."

Petry read the resolution approved by the board members at a special meeting June 7. He then questioned a figure by Stack, who said the school has 500 available students from Ellet and East High Schools for Towpath School to target. Petry said Ellet has a total of 1,000 students enrolled with graduating classes of less than 300. For East, the school enrolls about 600 students with 150 to 200 in the graduating classes. Petry said that if 86 percent of students are graduating, as per Stack's statistics, that would mean the number of potential students is far less than 500.

"That makes about 70 students in the pool," Petry said.

Resident Pat Moore said she has heard about how charter school hurt public schools and is against Towpath Trail's plan.

"To me, the most important thing in our community is our children and I cannot go along with anything that would harm the public schools as I believe that the children are what makes up the community and the future," Moore said. 

Stack, however, said it is not the intention to draw from Springfield Local Schools.

Stephen Dyer from Innovation Ohio, a non-profit think tank that has come out against dropout recovery schools, was unable to speak at the meeting but, but he sent a presentation to the trustees in advance of the meeting that stated facts and figures about charter schools and the dollars they take from public schools.

A decision about the school will be made at a special trustees meeting Thursday.

In other business, trustees:

n Approved payment of an invoice in the amount of $2,957.40 for the  repairs and servicing of the fire department's heart monitors, and the police department and Springfield Local Schools' AED defibrilators. The police department's share is $1,145 and the fire department's share is $1,812.40, which includes the school district's AED costs of $651, which is being reimbursed to the fire department from the AED breakfast fundraiser hosted by the department, the Lakemore Fire Department and the volunteer auxiliary Springfield Police (VASP).

n Approved payment to Medical Repair in the amount of $1,221.45 for the repair and annual maintenance of ambulance cots.

n Approved a service agreement with the Springfield Local Schools to provide an attendance coordinator for the 2016-2017 school year. The district will pay quarterly payments for a yearly cost of $32,500.

n Approved a resolution authorizing trustees to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission Local Transportation and State Capital Improvement Program for Canfield Road improvements. The total cost of approximately $320,000 with the township committing up to $160,000.

n A contract was approved for Melway Paving Company for the Pontius Road Project in the amount of $222,302. It is an Ohio Public Works Commission funded project at a share of 70 percent. Both Lake and Springfield Townships will pay 15 percent each.

n Trustees approved the hire of the Robert Weiler Group for appraisal of the property known as the Orndorff Preserve, which is the subject of the Clean Conservation fund Grand in an amount not to exceed $3,000. This expenditure qualifies for a reimbursement through the grant.

n The property at 3448 Carper Avenue was declared to be a nuisance and abatement will be initiated. Young said trustees are trying to get around to the mowing and abatement of the properties, but it costs the taxpayers money because the township pays for the abatement and then the amount is placed on the tax duplicate as a lien. Eventually, the cost is recovered when the property is sold.

n Another property was slated for abatement, but the owner is clearing the debris from the lot and it will be reviewed July 14.

The next regular scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m., July 14 at town hall located on Canfield Road.