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Friday, March 17th, 2017

Board votes to remove bleachers

Action taken on St. Marys stadium

By Ed Gebert
ST. MARYS - Board of education members voted unanimously Thursday evening to remove dilapidated bleachers from Skip Baughman Stadium.
The north and south wings of the east bleachers will be taken down at the stadium as soon as possible. Officials may add portable seating, at a cost of $56,000, to make up for the loss.
Board member Brian Little said a licensed inspection was the driving force to have the sections of the stand torn down.
"Apparently the guidelines changed this year, and with the inspection and the new guidelines, the two wings on the visitors' bleachers, I don't think they actually used the word 'condemned' but basically they are condemned," he said.
Little said he and board member Travis Kuenning, who are both on the board's buildings and grounds committee, had reached the conclusion.
"Travis and I talked," he said. "We can't fix them. We didn't want to drag our feet and can't wait any longer. The liability if someone goes out on those now, we know that they're condemned, so they need to come down."
Member Bob Valentine agreed, saying he initially balked at removing the bleachers due to a lack of estimates for installing permanent replacements. However, purchasing portable bleachers could have many uses, including at baseball games, track meets and tennis matches.
"I think that might be the best way to go," he said. "I am disappointed that we don't have any real figures on the purchase of new bleachers that would be permanent."
"We're looking into temporary solutions to this problem," Kuenning said. "Luckily this year, our major games happen to be away."
Also, two residents weighed in on the issue of Skip Baughman Stadium. Officials are debating whether to repair the crumbling stadium or build a new state-of-the-art facility.
Angela Ginter presented a petition with 402 signatures to board members, asking to keep high school football at Skip Baughman Stadium.
"We are appealing to you, please reconsider what you are doing regarding our stadium," she said. "They would like to have the opportunity to be informed unbiasedly and polled on the stadium location issue before going forward. You said on Oct. 22 that you were going to poll the voting public."
She noted the board had spent $50,000 on a feasibility study that only caused mistrust.
"We have talked and listened to a lot of people over the past month, and almost all of them have came back to the same conclusion. That this big decision is not yours to make, and that it should go to a public vote," Ginter said.
She called for reconsideration before any contracts are signed.
"We appeal to you to reconsider and keep your word, and do the right thing," she said.
Board members also heard from the other side.
Dan Burke, treasurer of the Roughrider Philanthropic Association, a private group seeking donations to build a sports complex on the property of the middle/high school complex, updated members on the campaign's progress.
"So far, we are in the beginning stages of the campaign, but I can tell you it's moving along," he said. "We have a lot of positive support. We have had a number of contributions so far. We have had a number of pledges so far. We're in the early stages, but things are going very well, and things are on a positive note."
The group hopes to raise enough private contributions to build a new stadium without school funds. The estimated cost of the facility is $6 million.
In other action, members passed resolutions honoring the high school boys bowling team for winning the Division II state championship, the high school girls bowling team for winning the WBL championship and the seventh-grade girls basketball team, who finished the season with an 18-1 record and won the WBL tournament. Members of each squad were introduced to the audience.
Members voted to advertise to hire two school psychologists for the 2017-2018 school year. The district currently shares school psychologists with other districts through the Auglaize County Educational Service Center.
Board member Ronda Shelby said finding the psychologists may be difficult.
"They are on the endangered list in Ohio," she said. "We just don't have enough to go around in any of the school districts."
Valentine made a motion to table the question of the psychologists' salaries, but his motion was not seconded.
"I'm a little disturbed about this schedule we have," he said. "It gives the psychologist a three percent raise each year for the first 10 years, and then on the 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th year."
Nevertheless, all board members except Valentine voted to approve the salary schedule. Also approved was the creation of a part-time assistant intervention team coordinator position at an hourly rate of $23.17.
Members also met in executive session to discuss the possible sale of property and compensation issues. No action was taken after the session.
In other action, members,
• approved participating in the ESC Cooperative Pick-up Truck Purchasing Program for the possible purchase of one pick-up truck.
• approved participation in the ESC Cooperative Passenger Van Purchasing Program for the possible purchase of one nine-passenger van.
• approved the creation of a fund for up to $25,000 annually for the costs associated with bus drivers for athletic events. The fund usage will be reviewed annually.
• accepted the resignations of high school math teacher Beth Luthman; dining commons aide Nan Ruane; and track coaches Scott Dieringer, Ericka Aller and Nick Page.
• approved contracts for Mary Lou Angstmann, Kerri Buggert, Lynn Freewalt, Sharon Latimer, Julie Perry, Barb Schrubb, Megan Vondenhuevel, Scott Dieringer, Kara Birt, Nate Garlock, Ericka Aller, Samantha Davenport, Doug Axe and volunteer Laia Mortimer.
• recommended the hourly rate of $19.73 for keyboarding instructors to the personnel committee.
• recommended increasing the high school/middle school library aide position from part-time to full-time.
• decreased the first- and fifth-grade sections from seven to six teachers due to decreased enrollment.
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