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Superintendent's Message

Photo of Superintendent Catherine Aukerman

We continue to be proud of our legacy of excellence in academics, the arts and athletics within the Highland Local School District.  This year, we will continue with the multi-phase research process to determine next steps for our aging elementary and middle school facilities.  We know that our elementary schools have served us well over the past 90 years, but the educational and financial challenges they now present cannot be overlooked any longer.  

Over the past two years, we have thoroughly reviewed all data, assessments and recommendations compiled by the State of Ohio’s - Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC).  In 2014, a Facilities Advisory Committee, consisting of approximately 30 individuals including community leaders, elected officials and parents, offered a recommendation to the Highland Board of Education on how to proceed. They outlined the various challenges posed by the current buildings and explained how our facilities do not meet basic minimum state standards.  As a well-informed group, they came to the realization that we cannot put off our facility needs much longer. 

In 2015, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) continued to conduct various environmental studies of our schools and an updated Enrollment Projection Study for the district.  The state commission’s recommendation is to build new elementary schools because the cost to renovate existing facilities to meet state minimum standards is roughly 79% of the cost to build new. The estimated cost to renovate the current elementary schools to meet minimum state standards is $28 million.  The cost to replace the three buildings (Granger, Hinckley and Sharon) is $35 million.  OFCC uses state-developed construction guidelines and recommends building new when the cost to renovate a building is 66% or more of the cost to build a new structure – in order to protect the public investment.  

Simply put, we need to start planning today for the educational facilities of tomorrow.  We will be communicating more information throughout the school year on this matter, but in the meantime, I encourage you to visit our website at highlandschools.org to learn about this process, as well as the overall conditions of the buildings.  Information can be found on the homepage under Quick Links/About Our Facilities.

Thank you,
Catherine Aukerman
Superintendent of Schools

Catherine Aukerman, Superintendent: aukerman@highlandschools.org
Sue Liszniansky, Executive Secretary: sliszniansky@highlandschools.org