The ‘Knapsack legislation’ initiates conversations about modifications

St. Michael Principal Andy Arn expressed enthusiasm about the potential of this bill to transform our financial situation, enabling us to consistently manage our budget without having to draw from funds allocated to the school and parish.

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Dubbed the “Backpack Bill,” this legislation aims to make all students from public, non-public, charter, and home schools eligible for a state scholarship funded through an education savings account. This voucher program is income-based and could provide parents with up to $6,000 annually per child for their education.

Arn pointed out that there is a clear demand for their school, as evidenced by the significant increase in student enrollment from 58 to 140 within seven years. Consequently, there is a need for expansion, including the addition of a high school to serve the community’s educational requirements. Students from various areas, such as Bethel, Fayetteville, Winchester, and Kentucky, in addition to Ripley and Georgetown, attend the school.

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Though the idea of establishing a high school is being explored, Arn emphasized that no concrete plans have been made, and they are not rushing into any decisions. He acknowledged the school’s commitment to traditional values and believes that a high school could be successful, but funding remains a significant obstacle for such a project. Arn mentioned several locations that have been considered, including Ripley’s building in Aberdeen, the old MRDD building in Georgetown, and the old Trapp and Wilson building. However, due to financial constraints, fixing up any of these locations would be challenging.

Arn reiterated the strong support from Fr. Amberger and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for the idea of a high school, emphasizing the need to proceed carefully to ensure a comprehensive high school experience with sports and social events for the students.

St. Michael School in Ripley has undergone several relocations since its establishment in the early 19th century, starting on Second Street near the Methodist Church. Over the years, it moved to different locations, culminating in the current building at 300 Market Street, whose cornerstone was laid on September 23, 1923.

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