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12-15-04 Prices sought for drug testing

By Margie Wuebker

  MARIA STEIN -- Marion Local Schools board of education authorized the superintendent to ask Grand Lakes Biomedical and Gateway Outreach Center to provide estimates on proposed random drug tests for student athletes.

  Superintendent Andrew Smith was instructed to ask representatives to attend an upcoming meeting to discuss the costs associated with the proposed plan officials would like to implement next year.
  Great Lakes offers an eight-panel screen for $19 per test. The price also includes lab confirmation in the event of a positive result. Gateway offers a five-panel test for $22 per test with all positive tests confirmed by lab analysis for $28 per drug. The number of panels equates to the number of substances the urine tests would identify.
  Smith noted work remains in order to mesh the proposed policy drafted by the school's legal advisers with the existing athletic policy. The legal version indicates immediate suspension for the season in the wake of a positive reading while the athletic policy includes various steps ranging from athletes sitting out a designated number of games to suspension.
   If the school board members drafted a letter to Santa Claus, two likely requests would be for new windows in portions of the elementary building and a larger weight room.  Smith provided estimates from two area businesses covering replacement of windows on the east side of the original 1978 wing. The prices, which include the installation of screens, are $27,674 from Celina Glass plus $1,500 in shipping costs and $22,870 from Hemm Glass in Sidney.
  Members also discussed the possibility of replacing other windows and asked whether the prices would hold firm if the work were not done until next summer. Smith agreed to look into the matter and report on the specifics at an upcoming meeting.
  Reroofing of the weight room has been placed on hold until school officials decide what to do with the facility that has become too small. The facility is used by physical education classes as well as student athletes. Smith will investigate the matter in terms of construction costs for a larger facility.
  The board also approved 2005 appropriations totaling $9,538,162.79, which includes a carryover balance of $76,448.87. This represents an increase of $170,735 from the 2004 total. Treasurer Paul Gagel explained changes are likely during the coming months.
  In other business, the board:
   Welcomed visitor Carl Pohl, a member of the Marion Community Scholarship Foundation, who presented a plaque that will hang in the high school commons. Since its inception in 1996, the foundation has awarded $500 scholarships to 65 Marion Local graduates.
   Discussed questions regarding the awarding of high school credit for eighth-grade students who participate in high school marching band activities. Additional input will be sought from band director James Stephens before any decision is made.
   Met in executive session to discuss the treasurer's evaluation.
   Set Jan. 11 as the date for the annual reorganization and budget hearing to begin at 7 p.m. The regular meeting follows at 7:30.


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