Meeting format up for discussion

MONICA PRYTS | Allied NewsGrove City school board held its monthly work session on Monday night. Pictured here are the individual committee meetings.

Adjustments are still being made to the way Grove City school board conducts its work sessions.

“This is a work in progress,” board member J. Scott Somora said at Monday night’s work session.

At the beginning of the meeting, board President Lee McCracken said he’s received feedback about the committee meeting portion of the work session.

Board and community members told him that it was challenging to hear what was being said and to give input at the Jan. 7 work session, when three committees held simultaneous meetings in the board conference room.

This time around, chairs were placed next to each table so that members of the public could sit in on the committee meeting of their choosing.

If needed in the future, the board could also try holding committee meetings in separate rooms, McCracken said.

Board member Ray Abplanalp said it’s problematic for more than one meeting at a time to be held.

“You can’t be in two places at the same time,” he said.

Other school districts hold committee meetings one right after the other, said board member Dr. Constance Nichols.

The board must be open, transparent, efficient and honest, said McCracken, adding that he believes the concurrent meetings are in compliance with the state’s Sunshine Law for open meetings.

The board might adjust the committee meeting schedule moving forward to address concerns and to be more accommodating, he said.

Board members then broke off into committees at one of three tables in the conference room.

Allied News observed the finance and personnel committee meetings; the two groups share some of the same members.

The finance committee discussed budget transfers, bills, tax collections, and the budget process for the 2020-21 school year.

Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch joined the committee to explain the software program that the district uses to create the budget.

They’re currently working with a simulation program, plugging in different numbers and scenarios to show how things like tax increases could impact the spending plan.

More information will be available in March or April, said Finch, who plans to give a more thorough presentation to the board.

The personnel committee discussed proposed hirings for the cafeteria, substitutes, and supplemental positions for spring sports.

The work session resumed after the committees met for about an hour; each committee chair shared highlights of their meetings.

Student affairs and activities reviewed student travel requests, and reinstating the Interact Club at the high school.

The educational services committee – which held a separate meeting before the work session – discussed staff conference requests, the high school program of studies for 2020-21, and the school calendar.

The proposed calendar for 2020-21 shows that classes will start on Aug. 31, and the last day is June 4, said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joshua Weaver.

And based on feedback from students, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is expected to be an in-service day for students – Jan. 18.

The facilities and school safety committee discussed track resurfacing proposals, a plaque for the Hillview Elementary School project, and the district’s options for the future of Highland Primary Center.

It might be time to sit down again with the Grove City YMCA, which has expressed interest in buying the building, Ray Abplanalp said.

Wrapping things up was the policy and legislative affairs committee, which talked about an update to the suspension and expulsion policy, and policies for meetings and athletic facilities advertising and sponsors.

The board’s monthly voting meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in the board conference room at the district’s main office.

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