Sciotoville meeting Oct. 28 to discuss new school

By Ryan Ottney

October 22, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

SCIOTOVILLE — Sciotoville Community Schools announced Monday a community meeting on Monday, Oct. 28, to discuss with the public the school’s plans to build a new school building.

East High School first opened in 1927, and was part of the Portsmouth City School District. In 2000, Portsmouth decided to close the school and move all of its students to the high school in downtown Portsmouth. The nearby East Portsmouth Elementary on Harding Avenue, however, did not immediately close and the district maintained an elementary in a new building. The Sciotoville community got together and was looking for options to keep a secondary presence here, and Sciotoville Community Schools opened in East High School in August of 2001 for grades 7-12. The high school was so successful that they eventually added 6th grade classes, then 5th grade classes a year or two later. In 2008, the community opened Sciotoville Elementary Academy in modular trailers just a few blocks away from the high school, for grades kindergarten through fourth.

Sciotoville Governing Board President Bill Shope said the district is now developing plans to build a new high school, and possibly a new elementary school. Whether or not the district builds a new elementary school also, he said, will depend on the response they receive from Portsmouth City Schools to occupy the existing East Portsmouth Elementary in Sciotoville.

“Our Superintendent Rick Bowman made a proposal for the occupation of EPE last Thursday night, and we are still waiting for a response from the Portsmouth City School District,” Shope said. “Upon hearing their answer, we will immediately make it known to the citizens of our community and we’re hopeful that something can be worked out.”

Sciotoville cannot take full ownership of the East Portsmouth Elementary building because of an ongoing bond levy, Shope said. This is the second time Sciotoville has made a request to occupy the East Portsmouth Elementary building. The last request was made several years ago, and it was rejected by the Portsmouth City School Board. If the city school rejects this latest request, Sciotoville will include plans to build a new elementary school.

But whether or not Sciotoville includes an elementary building in its plan, they are moving forward with plans to build a new high school. Shope said the school is looking at several plans and locations throughout the Sciotoville district, and they will all be presented at the meeting on Oct. 28.

“We would like to ask our community — we will give them several options that are available to us based on some forthcoming information, and we would like our community to give our governing board direction as to what they prefer. As in types of buildings and location of facilities,” Shope said. “We own property throughout our school district, and all property is being considered for new facilities. Whatever will be the best fit for our community from an educational and financial standpoint is what we’re hoping to end up with.”

Because Sciotoville Schools are charter school, they are not eligible to receive tax bonds and will not be able to ask voters to help pay for their new buildings. Instead the school is looking at several private investors willing to lend the money to Sciotoville, which the school would then have to pay back.

“There will be no bond. There will be no additional tax for these facilities,” Shope said.

The Sciotoville community meeting will be Monday, Oct. 28, in the East High School cafeteria, at 6:30 p.m. Shope said everyone from the Sciotoville community, and from outside communities, is encouraged to attend.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.