YS Schools— District seeks field repairs
- Published: January 9, 2020
The Yellow Springs school board is moving forward with repairs and upgrades at the high school’s outdoor athletic field and track.
At its most recent regular meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, the board unanimously approved a resolution green lighting the project and authorizing the superintendent to seek competitive bids for the work.
In a followup interview, district Superintendent Terri Holden said the most pressing needs are drainage in and around the field; a complete resurfacing of the track; a renovation or replacement of the track event venues — long jump, high jump, shot put, discus and pole vault areas — and new fencing.
Other areas that need to be addressed, but likely will wait due to costs, are a new scoreboard, the addition of restrooms to the outdoor athletic facilities and an improved field entrance, Holden said.
No projected costs were given for the anticipated work, but all contracts will go before the board for their individual approval, according to the project resolution.
In her written report to the board, Holden said that “the condition of the track has deteriorated to a dangerous point, [and] drainage issues continue to impact both the track and the soccer pitch.”
Several community members spoke to the board in support of moving forward with the repairs, which the athletic department has been exploring since 2018.
John Gudgel, who, among his many roles with the district, is a longtime track coach, said that the district has a storied history of track excellence, and an improved track will help build on that legacy.
“You know my passion about it,” he told the board.
Gudgel also noted that the track is widely used when it is in good repair.
“It’s not just for the athletic department,” he said, adding that the Yellow Springs police and fire departments, locally based military personnel and the Greene County Educational Service Center all have used the track.
Fellow track coach Peter Dierauer also spoke in favor of the improvements.
“I’m a little bit biased, as you know,” he said, adding that the district’s successful track program serves as a recruiting tool, bringing new families to the district so their children can be a part of it.
Until improvements are made, the team will have to find another track to use.
“If it has to move [permanently], it would not have the same character,” he said of the program.
Karla Horvath, who leads the Girls on the Run and Boys on the Run programs at Mills Lawn, said the track had become too dangerous for kids to use.
“It has nicks that can turn an ankle,” she said, adding that it is also uneven and difficult for wheelchair users to access.
Local resident Ali Thomas, a board member of the Southwest Ohio Track Club whose daughter ran track with the local high school team until her graduation in 2016, spoke on behalf of supporting the school’s sports programs.
“It’s objective, it’s irrefutable — if you go to practices and you work, you’re going to be better, which is a good lesson. It’s just what life is all about,” Thomas said.
When the athletic department first started talking about the athletic field’s current needs, the district began looking into possible grants, sponsorships or other alternative funding. Former Superintendent Mario Basora spoke to the board last year about his desire to seek outside funding for some of the athletic field work.
Holden said in the week following the board meeting that such funding may still be possible, but finding it has of yet been unsuccessful.
In other school board business Dec. 12—
The board approved the purchase of an International Special Education bus from RUSH Truck Centers for $110,803, to come from the permanent improvement levy fund, which amounts to about $140,000 a year.
Policy first readings
The board approved a first reading on several updates to district policy.
Holden said each of the updates reflect recent state legislation.
•Employment of Treasurer and Non-Reemployment of Treasurer: The update reflects changes in insurance options made available through House Bill 291.
•Inter-District Open Enrollment: the change reflects the district’s open enrollment date deadlines as required by state statute.
•School Choice Options: the update reflects the deletion of school improvement options that are no longer part of Ohio’s plan for federal Every Student Succeeds Act compliance.
•Student Mental Health & Suicide Prevention: the change reflects training requirements as modified by House Bill 502.
•Disposition of Real Property/Personal Property: the change aligns district policy with current law concerning empty and unused school buildings.
•Food Services: the policy update reflects the House Bill 166 additional requirements for school breakfast programs and changes language to cover all meals provided by the district.
Second reading approval of the revisions is anticipated at the next board meeting, Thursday, Jan. 9.
The school board accepted a donation of $100 from Bruce Bradtmiller and Carol Cottom and $200 through the Yellow Springs Community Foundation from Michael Blevins and Peggy Nestor.
The board also accepted Giving Tuesday-related donations through the Yellow Springs Community Foundation from Catherine Crawford Anderson, Asanda Imports, Andrea Carr, Jennifer Clark, Jacqueline Rae Delk, Amy Harper, Susan G. Miller. Liz and Dan Robertson, Catherine Roma, Thaddene Triplett, Rachel Trumbull and Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce.
The board approved a continuing contract for the 2019–20 school year for Jane Jako, Mills Lawn special education aide/paraprofessional, increasing her hours from six per day to six and a half per day, effective Jan. 6.
The board also approved supplemental contracts for staff members who served as advisors for the McKinney Middle School seventh grade Into the Wild Experience, at a stipend of $199 per night, not to exceed $1,764, for Rebecca Eastman, Katherine Lohmeyer and Eli Hurwitz.
In addition, the board approved a $4,000 stipend for John Gudgel as project coordinator of the local grant-supported Strengthening Ohio Teacher Pipeline program; and $1,000 mentor teacher stipends for Debra Mabra, Chris Sidner and Mikasa Simms.
A contract for substitute nurse at Mills Lawn for the 2019–20 school year was also approved for Stephanie Lawson at $25 per hour.
The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Thursday, Jan. 9. The board will have a 6 p.m. organizational meeting during which they will elect their president and vice president for the year and name members to serve on various district committees. A public hearing on the district budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, is also on the agenda. The regular meeting will follow at 7 p.m.
The board named Sylvia Ellison to serve as president pro tem for the organizational meeting.
Superintendent Holden also announced that she and Interim Treasurer Tammy Emrick will host a public meeting on district funding at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, at Mills Lawn.