After months of negotiations, the Oxford School Board finally

approved a change order for playground inlet revisions at the Hopewell

School Project. The board had balked at the bill for altering the ground

level around the doorway to the building because the original design had

not called for the changes. The problem arose when the ground elevations

used for the construction drawings did not match the conditions found on


The school board had objected that they should not be responsible for the

unexpected work, but finding someone else to blame has not been easy. After

negotiating the cost with the contractors and getting some concessions from

APC3, their architects for the project, the board approved the change order

for $9,400.

The total change orders for the Hopewell project so far have been about

$850,000 from the $1 million in contingency allowed for the $20 million

project with another $100,000 in change orders pending. Those costs

include $250,000 to $300,000 in parking lot paving that was an addition to

the project requested by the district.

"The percentage is about 2.5 percent which is extremely good for a project of this

nature," Jim Paschke from Reynolds Construction Management told the board.

As a special education update, Assistant Superintendent Cathy Taschner

presented information on the Access program which provides funding to

school districts for medically necessary items for students. She reported

that the district has been more thorough in billing, which has more than

doubled the funding received this year compared to the 2007/08. According

to Taschner, in '07/08 the district received $58,000 through the program,

while they have collected $133,000 so far this year.

The program covers professional services as well as medical equipment and

special services for special education students. Funding is not based on

family income, but on student need. "That's money we put back into the

program we don't have to use other money for," Taschner said.

There was also a report from Superintendent Ray Fischer concerning the

progress the district is making toward meeting goals set forward in their

strategic plan. The goals for math, reading, writing, attendance,

participating in testing and graduation rates mirror the goals set for all

school district by No Child Left Behind, and go beyond them.

The graph shown by Fisher began with Math, where the No Child Left Behind

goal for 2008-10 is 63 percent proficiency, but the Oxford goal is 72 percent for 2008-09

and 78 percent for 2009-10 with the actual total for 2008-09 being 75 percent

The strategic plan goals for all areas exceed the No Child Left Behind

levels, sometimes substantially. For the graduation rate the federal

guidelines call for the district to reach 80 percent by the year 2014, but the

current graduation rate is 91 percent and the district goal for 2009-10 is 93 percent.

There will be no additional board meetings this month, and the August work

session and regular meeting will be combined into one evening on Aug. 17,

beginning at 7 pm. That meeting will be preceded by a tour of the new

Hopewell building for board members only.

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