Board puts hold on wrestling program
A Baldwin Junior High wrestling program has been put on hold, at least for the next couple of months.
The Baldwin Board of Education decided Monday night that, because of possible budget problems for next year, it was not the appropriate time to approve the addition of the new athletic program.
Board President Ed Schulte said he thought the decision would have to wait until the school district had a set budget.
"I'm having a difficult time voting anything forward," Schulte said. "I'm really concerned about the academic program and if we have to do cuts and what that means. My perception is we have to hold off on the program until we see where we're at."
Baldwin High School wrestling coach Kit Harris presented a proposal to add junior high wrestling at December's school board meeting.
The initial start-up costs for the program, which would be one both boys and girls could participate in, would be around $4,000.
Harris told the board in December that Baldwin was one of only two Frontier League schools that did not have junior high wrestling, but there was interest because of the high level of participation in the Baldwin City Wrestling club.
He said the addition of the junior high program would also help the high school program become more experienced.
Board members said they would be in favor of the program if it could be afforded by the district.
"I would support the program. I think it's a good program," Board Member Lonnie Broers said. "But funding is a big question. I hate to initiate a program like this and turn around and cut another program."
Board Member Barbara Johnson said she agreed.
"The biggest thing is the money issue," she said. "I don't want to commit to anything until we know where we are money wise."
Harris suggested adding the program if parents fund the start-up costs.
"We could definitely put together a fund-raising effort to get it off the ground," he said.
Schulte said that could be a possibility, but it would need to be looked into more. The school board will next address the wrestling program proposal at the March meeting.
In other business, the school board:
Reviewed the school board candidate applications of Alison Bauer and Debbie Oakleaf. One of the candidates will fill the vacancy left by former school board member Roger Arnold who resigned from the board in December.
The board interviewed Bauer. Oakleaf was not in attendance at Monday's board meeting.
The decision to choose a new school board member was tabled to the February meeting.
Heard a proposal for a closed-circuit TV security system for BJHS and BHS from School Resource Officer Suzanne Evinger.
Evinger said the 30 digital cameras, which would cost between $75,000 and $85,000, would be placed in the hallways and outside of the schools.
"I believe after research, CCTV would deter or prevent most incidents that occur in our schools," she said.
Principals in the two schools said they agreed.
"I think it would be helpful," BJHS Principal Connie Wright said. "There's no doubt we have incidents that it would help us with. It takes the questions out of hearsay."
White said the any decision about CCTV would have to wait until the district has a better grasp on next year's budget.
"I think the critical element is what the legislature does," he said, "so waiting would be the best option at this point."
Heard a facilities update from Frangkiser & Hutchens architect Bill Woodhouse.
Woodhouse said he had been working with city utility officials on the new elementary school site.
Plans are still on schedule, he said, to begin accepting bids for the construction of the new school in mid-March and award contracts in mid-May.
Heard a district reading report from Curriculum Director Carolyn Groves.
Recognized the BHS culinary team for its third place at state.
Met in executive session for 50 minutes.
After executive session, the board approved in a 6-0 vote to approve the resignation of Marion Springs Elementary School fourth and fifth grade teacher Charlene Potter and the employment recommendations of Sherry Haskell, food service worker step 2, Toni Cool, food service worker step 1, and Robin Deitz, technology assistant. Potter's resignation will be effective at the end of the school year.