Improving school facilities was the major topic during the June 26 Galion Board of Education meeting.
First Scott Eckert gave a brief presentation on behalf of Galion Youth Football. He said many of the storage sheds that the football program uses for equipment are in bad shape. The organization would like to build a new, 10x16 shed to replace an existing 10x10.
The cost would be an estimated $2,000, which will not come out of the district’s pocket; Youth Football would pick up the bill. He was requesting the “go ahead” to put a plan together to build the shed, then donate it to the school.
Eckert noted the shed would be for the benefit of the entire football program. He has been working with Head Football Coach Chris Hawkins and school administrators.
Following the presentation, the Board passed a motion to approve the project.
In community input, Christine Deibig was present to comment on a related topic. The parent of a football player, Deibig said she is disappointed with the maintenance of the stadium and athletic facilities at Heise Park. In particular, she pointed out that the grass and weeds are far too high, and the stadium locker room is in need of a “good cleaning.”
She pointed out that athletes from out of town, as well as their families, come to Galion for games and tournaments. “I’m embarrassed that this is what they see,” Deibig said, adding that she is proud her kids go to school at Galion, but the athletic facilities should reflect pride too.
Eckert added that the football practice field is in bad shape as well, and is a safety concern at times for Youth Football.
Board member Jennifer Kuns agreed with the comments and said she hears about the issue from other parents. Board member Heath Watkins pointed out that the stadium is the single focus point for most athletic teams because it is used for conditioning and weight lifting.
Superintendent Mark Stefanik responded that the staff is addressing maintenance to athletic facilities and the work schedule is being re-organized. Later in the meeting, the Board approved the employment of three seasonal workers, which will also help to address the issue.
An agreement with Schmidt Security was also approved. The security system on the school campus has outdated and defective equipment, and Stefanik said there have been problems with it.
Stefanik explained it will be cheaper to upgrade or replace the entire system rather than fixing the existing one. The cost over the next two years is $149,000, which includes any maintenance and replacement parts for next five years at no additional cost.
The Galion Elks gave the school a Gratitude Grant in the amount of $2,000, to be used for additional security improvements.
“Education dollars only go so far. We cannot get everything done without donations, so thank you to everyone who helps,” Stefanik commented.
Results of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee came in earlier in the month. Dr. Sandy Powell, director of curriculum, reported that Galion had a passing rate of 85.2 percent. When the practice test was given in the fall the passage rate was 54.3 percent.
Thirteen students will be taking summer intervention courses. Powell said it is important for the students to go through the intervention, and the district is offering transportation for them.
The district’s open enrollment policy was also up for discussion. Overall, Stefanik said Galion does not turn away students often, but class size determines how many can open enroll.
Watkins said he requested that it be put on the agenda because he believes there are opportunities to improve the policy. He received three emails from parents who have kids open enrolled in the district.
Strengths that these parents pointed out included: A friendly staff, the forms are easy to fill out, availability of school board members and willingness to accept students after the deadline.
In order to improve open enrollment, Watkins suggested devising a welcome packet for families that lays out a full timeline for them. He noted that one family open enrolled at Ontario after applying to Galion but not getting a response soon enough.
Following regular business, the Board entered executive session to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee. No further action was to be taken.