By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — The Medina Board of Education approved a pair of budgetary additions deemed necessary Tuesday but unanimously denied a request for a high school club that would have cost the district $4,700 in the coming year.
The request to establish a ski club was initiated by high school students. Board President Carol Heiligenthaler said that the proposal for the club would have around 20 students from Medina and 15 from nearby districts participating at a student cost of about $350.
Medina would have to cover the cost of transportation to the slopes and for a club advisor.
Resident Margo Bowerman questioned the request, citing murmurs that the school would provide for such a club while not funding field trips for other students — a rumor that Superintendent Jeff Evoy said wasn’t true.
“It sounded ludicrous,” Bowerman said. “If we’re sending kids to a ski club ... we need to make sure our money has good bang for our buck.”
Most of the board members who spoke on the issues voiced similar concerns — could the district’s funding be better spent to restore funding for other academic activities and extra-curricular activities that benefit a wider-range of students.
“Our primary goal is to educate all students,” said board member William Keppler, who said a private group funded by the student’s families would be preferable. “This isn’t a primary objective.”
”I want to make sure all children have opportunities,” Evoy said.
The measure eventually failed by a 8-0 decision after it was brought for a vote.
The district was later unanimous in approval to move forward with the purchase and installation of a new sign board at the school’s Maple Ridge Road entrance.
The board approved a project totaling no more than $24,999 to Toth’s Sports of Victor, which has produced much of the electronic signage used at Medina’s athletics facilities.
The proposed sign would be housed between a pair of sandstone pillars constructed by the school district using stone donated by the Village of Medina. Board member Virginia Nicholson said the electronic sign will take about six weeks to construct, with a projected debut of the signage sometime next spring.
The cost of the project comes from the school’s capital project incidental fund, which Nicholson said has not been touched. The district is also considering purchasing directional signage that would be placed within the campus’s roadways.
Medina is also going to add a head bus driver position, a move requested by Transportation Department Director Rob Dennis. Heiligenthaler said the creation of the position, which would be used to help train other drivers, fill in when needed on the bus routes and provide assistance to Dennis’ operation, would cost the district between $30,000-$35,000, 90 percent of which would be aided by the state next year.
Board member Susan Squires and others praised the job down by Dennis, but said that his “herculean” efforts are being stretched thin by staffing constraints.
”He had to hop on bus routes because of a lack of drivers,” Squires said. “That causes a lot of the issues.”
Evoy voiced support for the addition, citing the district’s priority to provide safety for students on their way to and from school each day.
”What I worry about most is getting kids home safely, there’s no room for error in transportation,” Evoy said. “Is there a need? Absolutely.”
But in a year where the effects of budget cuts are being felt across the district, any expenditure raises questions of priorities.
”If there’s money in the budget, could we bring back (student programs),” questioned board member John McCarthy.
”We’ve dismantled this district over the past three years ... there’s a lot of place we’re we could rebuild,” said board member Chris Keller, who supported the measure.
• A resolution to crate an information services/AV Director was tabled after no boardmember voted to bring it before the entire board.
• A moment of silence was observed in honor of Wise Middle School student Jordan Hammond, who passed away Nov. 12.