Perrysburg’s growing population proves a challenge for school district
PERRYSBURG, Ohio — The City of Perrysburg’s population is growing, and when I say the word “growing,” don’t take it lightly.
In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau counted 18,125 people.
Then, in 2010, that number jumped by 2,634 to 20,759 people.
And in 2020, Perrysburg hit 25,063 residents.
So what do those numbers tell us? Well, that one, the city continues to grow dramatically, and two, that the school district must also be experiencing growth — and that’s most definitely the case.
According to Perrysburg Schools Superintendent Tom Hosler, since 2012, the district has added about as many students as all of the students in the Ottawa Hills School District. This is a great example of what he says is families seeking out the district’s staff, fine and performing arts, as well as athletics programs.
Hosler listed three main “pressure points” in the district. The first being a high school built in 2001 for 1,600 students currently accommodating 1,800, elementary schools built in the 50s that aren’t suited for modern day education, and a junior high school, built in the 1960s, facing the same problem.
The band-aid solution to these problems has been portable classrooms, but the issue for Hosler and a few others has been the fact that they’re easily accessible, and it isn’t possible for the safety protocols of the district’s brick-and-mortar buildings to be adhered to in a portable classroom setting.
This is a problem that’s only expected to get worse, which is why the school board has sought feedback from residents, and will soon hear back from the county auditor on the estimated costs associated with expansion. This would be something the taxpayers would, of course, have to fit the bill, as he estimates the district will be serving close to 8,000 students by 2040. That would make the district similar in size to Sylvania and Washington Local Schools.
“We can’t turn students away. We can’t say, ‘Hey, we’re full. Sorry.’ We have to make it work,” Hosler said.
One other thing he mentioned during our conversation is that the district’s been here before. Back in the 50s, voters approved the funds to allow for the construction of two new elementary schools within 10 years, and he says this is an example of a tradition in Perrysburg: rallying for the good of future students.