Feb 23, 2014

Greenville Law Director offers savings to GCSD


GREENVILLE – Greenville Law Director Eric Brand introduced himself to the Greenville City School Board Feb. 13, noting his statutory duty included representation to the district as needed.

“I’m not here to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “However there are things I can do as Law Director that haven’t been done in a while.” He noted the district has spent $92,623.59 in the past three years on outside legal fees. “I’m not permitted to charge you for my services, but I take my responsibilities seriously. I believe I can save you money.”

He noted some areas would be a conflict between the city and the district but if outside legal services were needed he could possibly help in that area. He also said GCSD Treasurer Carla Surber might want to meet with Greenville City Auditor Roxanne Willman, as the city has had similar concerns.

“I just want to save the school district as much as possible, especially with a $65 million building project coming up,” Brand said later. He added he hopes to bring his experience as a public and private labor contract attorney to the table. “I just successfully completed a labor contract negotiation with the state mediator for Greenville Township,” he said.

During the board’s work session, it discussed handling situations where parents (or guardians) refused to pay for the school lunches their children receive. The children have to eat. Currently, the school makes a phone call and sends out a letter. If there has still been no payment after 10 days, the children get a peanut butter (or cheese) sandwich with fruit, vegetable and milk at a reduced cost of about 40 cents a day.

The board was told parents don’t seem to care; it’s only when they find out their children won’t be able to participate in Field Days do they start paying.

Board Member David Madden was concerned the cheaper lunch was a negative to kids, not to the parents. “What message are we sending to the kids?” he asked. Superintendent Doug Fries said something had to happen, adding he was afraid others would start doing the same if there was no penalty. The board was advised students often opt for the peanut butter sandwiches, so there is no stigma attached to those with no choice.

Other districts are tougher, some reducing meals after only three days of non-payment. The matter was held for future discussion.

Bruce Miller of Garmann/Miller Architects-Engineers gave a slide presentation of possible options for the high school renovation, scheduled for completion in the 2015-2016 school year. It included an artist rendition of one possible look for the renovated cafeteria. Schematics were shown for the cafeteria and concession stand, the administration area and other exterior views of the building.

The board discussed the options with Miller for future consideration, and later noted required phases and tests were moving forward for the high school and K-8 building on North Ohio Street.

During the regular session Surber said the sale of bonds for the construction has been completed and Fries told the board about the new testing schedules resulting from the calamity days experienced by districts throughout the state. The new OGT (Ohio Graduation Test) dates will be March 12-23, while the OAA (Ohio Academic Achievement) dates will be April 21 through May 9. Grades three, four, six and seven will be on reading and mathematics (Grades 4 & 7 writing is suspended for this year); Grades five and eight will be on reading, mathematics and science (social studies is suspended for this year). The OGT covers reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies.

Fries congratulated Landin Brown, junior high student, for winning the District Spelling Bee for the fourth year in a row and commended South student Caleb Coppess for finishing third. He commended Scottie Moore, JR Price and Chelsea Whirledge, their students, and Tonya Wright, Pamela Woods and Alyssa Blinn for their efforts in OMEA District 11 Solo & Ensemble Adjudicated Event Feb. 1.
Bruce Miller of Garmann/Miller Architects-Engineers shows the Greenville City School Board an artist rendering of a possible view of the GHS remodeled cafeteria at the Board’s work session prior to the regular meeting Feb. 13.


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