Board approves 35K for weight room
Money granted following much discussion, 4-3 vote
The decision to hand over $35,000 in capital outlay funds to the Bonner Springs High School athletics department for a new weight room didn’t come lightly for the USD 204 Board of Education.
The motion to grant the funding was approved, 4-3, with members Lewis Wood, Jeff Tinberg and Gregg Gibson opposed. The vote demonstrated continuing strong opposition to spending tax money on a facility that would give student-athletes more room and equipment than the Bonner Springs YMCA, where the athletes currently train, can provide.
The item was introduced to the board three meetings ago by new BSHS principal Joe Hornback, who offered up a more than $74,000 proposal that would include new mirrors, rubber flooring, weight-lifting racks and benches and used equipment. The proposal called for no actual building construction, as the room would be installed in an existing room at BSHS.
After two meetings’ worth of discussions, the item was placed on Monday night’s agenda for a vote. Athletics director John Hilton came to the board with a reduced proposal of $55,442.
“We’ve had to turn kids away that want to take weights because we don’t have enough room … to let them all in there,” Hilton said. At the YMCA, student-athletes have to train in turns because of limited space and equipment.
Hilton said the limitations were also preventing proper training of the athletes.
“We need to make sure they’re doing lab work,” Hilton said, comparing the necessary training to laboratory assignments done in science classes. “Otherwise we’re not developing anything more than bodybuilders … I know what can be done and I know if you put your money in, it’s not going to be wasted … We’ve got to invest in our kids.”
A motion to grant the $55,442 failed, 2-5, with members Dave Pierce and Ray Cox in favor. The board then discussed whether it might offer up $20,000 in what superintendent Robert Van Maren described as “seed money,” with the expectation the athletics department and the Booster Club would raise the rest.
Member Connie Hadley, however, said that if the board was going to grant any money to the project, it needed to be enough to give it a good start.
“If we do the minimum we should get it started,” she said. “We don’t want to start with $60,000 this year and then have to do $90,000 next year. OK, if we want to get it started, let’s do it. Either we do it or we don’t.”
Member Olliea Jarrett made a motion to grant the project an amount not to exceed $35,000, but Gibson said he was still strongly hesitant to grant any money to the project out of capital outlay when there was no telling what other projects might come up over the coming years.
“If we can get this funded (through fundraising efforts) then obviously, I’m all for it,” he said.
Tinberg agreed, saying this was not the time to be spending this kind of money, especially in light of the recent layoffs in the district.
Despite their reservations, however, the motion carried. Though it wasn’t quite the amount he sought, Hilton said he was pleased.
“It’s a start,” he said. “It shows that our school board and our superintendent believe in getting us started. It gave us the opportunity to get the ball rolling and start putting things in place.”
Hilton said $6,700 had already been pledged for the project through donors, and he was confident the Booster Club would be able to raise the rest. He said it was his hope the entire weight room would be completed within two years.
Also on Monday, the board:
• Chose new officers.
Following unanimous votes, former board vice president Olliea Jarrett was named the new board president for the 2010-2011 school year, replacing Gregg Gibson, and board member Lewis Wood was named vice president.
Jarrett, who was elected to the board in a non-contested race in 2007, said she was looking forward to her new position.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge and this is an excellent school district,” Jarrett said. “I’m looking forward to making a difference in the community I live in.”
As to stepping down from his position as president, Gibson said he was happy to do so.
“It was a good year,” Gibson, who has served on the board since 2006, said. “I learned a lot. I’m proud of what this board has done … We’ve got a lot of work to do and Olliea’s going to do a good job.”
Current board clerk Tami Koppang and board treasurer Bonnie Hocraffer were also unanimously reinstated to their positions.
• Unanimously approved the adoption of the agenda.
• Unanimously approved the minutes from the June 21 meeting.
• Unanimously approved the treasurer and clerk’s report.
• Unanimously approved warrants totalling $139,576.08.
• Unanimously approved new designations including board attorney Charles Thomas, hearing officer for free and reduced lunch Tami Koppang and KPERS representatives Renee Stanley and Cheryll Arnett.
• Unanimously approved a bid to Robert’s Dairy, in the amount of $76,890.25, to provide milk and juice over the coming school year.
• Unanimously approved 17 new contracts and the renewed contracts of Millie Justice, special education vision specialist, Pat Likins, Head Start director, and Steven Moore, special education psychologist.
In addition, the board unanimously approved the resignations of Michelle Loncar, Edwardsville Elementary Title I aide, and Lisa Vize, Bonner Springs High School assistant cheerleading coach.