BG school board to discuss going back on ballot

New Bowling Green Board of Education member Norm Geer and board president Jill Carr at Tuesday's meeting

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

Bowling Green Board of Education will hold a workshop next week to discuss the direction the district should take as it prepares to go back on the ballot.

The meeting will be held Monday at 7 a.m., in the central administration office on Clough Street, and will be open to the public.

The board faces a Feb. 7 deadline if it decides to try again to pass a levy for school buildings.

“We have not made a decision,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said Tuesday evening after the school board’s organizational meeting for 2018.

Voters rejected the district’s request last November for a 6-mill bond issue for a new consolidated elementary building and improvements to the high school.

Last year, school officials said if the levy failed, the district would return in 2018 with the same request. The need will still exist, they stressed. That will be part of the discussion on Monday.

The only new school board member, Norm Geer, said he supported the levy last fall. “I voted for it,” he said.

As part of his orientation for the board, Geer has toured all the district buildings – which reinforced his support of the levy. “Seeing the kids cramped in rooms,” with some classes in modular units, and with uneven student levels at the three elementaries, further reinforced his belief, he said.

“I’m also aware of the concerns,” Geer said. “There’s a reason it went down and we have to address it.”

Though the building project is expensive, consolidation of the elementaries will be a long-term savings, he said. And “the case can be made very convincingly” that the educational opportunities are superior in a consolidated elementary, he added.

“There’s a real savings in doing that consolidation,” Geer said. “There are lots of good reasons to do it. The only problem is the cost.”

Meanwhile Defiance School District opened its new school building this week, after receiving 78 percent of the funding from the state. Due to a state formula questioned by local school officials, Bowling Green would only get 10 to 13 percent of its building costs from the state.

“I’m not envious of other districts,” Scruci said. “I’m frustrated by the formula that says we’re affluent. I don’t see us as much different than Defiance.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board elected Jill Carr as president and Ginny Stewart as vice president. Other members are Bill Clifford, Paul Walker and Geer.

Geer, who was sworn in as a new board member at Tuesday’s meeting, has a long history with Bowling Green City Schools. He attended kindergarten through 12th grade here, his wife taught in the district for 31 years, and his three children attended the schools. His parents were both educators, and his daughter is now a teacher.

“I have a soft spot in my heart for education,” he said, noting the challenges facing the district. “It’s a big responsibility. I’m accepting it and taking it seriously. It’s an experience I’m looking forward to.”

The board decided to hold most of its monthly meetings in the middle school library, and to rotate occasionally for meetings to the other school buildings.

“I think there’s a value to see some of the other buildings,” Scruci said.

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