GROVE CITY – Grove City school board members are expected to vote Monday on renewing the superintendent’s contract.

The five-year contract was briefly discussed at the Oct. 7 work session, when several board members questioned the proposal.

If approved, Dr. Jeffrey Finch’s new contract would run from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2025.

Solicitor Russell Lucas advised that the board move to executive session to talk about the contract.

Board member J. Scott Somora asked what Finch’s new salary would be; roughly $170,000, which is 2.5 percent increase, Finch said.

Somora asked about the negotiating committee that met with Finch regarding the contract. He wondered what allows the board president to authorize the creation of that committee.

Lucas again advised that the board go into executive session, which was held and lasted about 45 minutes.

After the work session resumed, board member Carolyn Oppenheimer said that taxpayers need to be informed that the contract is on the table for a vote.

She felt that the work session agenda was not clear about that potential vote, and said that a five-year contract is not the norm.

The work session agenda said that the board would be reconsidering Finch’s reappointment as superintendent with a five-year contract.

There will be some new board members come January; perhaps they should be the ones voting on the contract, Oppenheimer said.

Board members agreed to update the agenda for the voting meeting to reflect that they would be making a decision on the contract renewal, she said.

“There’s just a lot of controversy over this contract,” she said after the work session.

Oppenheimer wonders if a board member would be liable if the full board votes on an expense without sufficient information. She noted that she was not referring to a certain item.

Lucas told her “no.”

“We’re supposed to have informed votes,” she said.

In other business at the work session, board members:

• Heard from board President Dr. Constance Nichols, who noted that executive sessions were held Sept. 9, for discussion of evaluations for Finch and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joshua Weaver; and Sept. 20, for discussion of Finch’s contract.

• Heard from Finch that an updated facilities rental agreement between the district and George Junior Republic is in the works.

• Heard from Finch that the district is reviewing a proposal from Wayneburg University to offer dual enrollment courses in criminal justice for juniors and seniors. The courses would be completing during the high school’s “lunch and learn” period, and the university would be using Grove City as a pilot program.

• Discussed a roof replacement project at the Mercer County Career Center. The district’s cost, which is based on the number of Grove City students at the center, would be about $252,000 over 10 years.

• Heard from Weaver that updates to the district’s comprehensive plan are ongoing. The board is expected to vote on the latest update in November. A draft has been posted on the district’s website for review:

• Discussed the removal of an abandoned communications tower next to Hillview Elementary School. The board is reviewing a proposal from Giordano Construction, New Castle, to remove the 180-foot tower for $6,930. The George Junior metal works class would like to have some of the pieces, and the district could also offer some scraps to the career center, Finch said.

• Discussed replacing the synthetic turf surface on Forker Field during the summer of 2020. Finch has touched base with a few companies, and prices range from about $400,000 to $425,000, though the numbers keep changing. The district wants a product with a 10-year warranty; the current turf has lasted 13 years.

• Heard from Finch that no lead was detected during the district’s annual water testing.

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