Education

BG Schools program focuses on positive behaviors

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s hard to teach science theories, sentence dissection, or just about anything when kids are acting up. So Bowling Green City Schools are adopting a program called PBIS – Positive Behavior Intervention Supports. The program provides consistent rules throughout the district and reinforces positive behaviors by students. In order to have good learning environments, “we have to get the behaviors under control,” Crim Principal Melanie Garbig said during a recent board of education meeting. Each school in the district has a PBIS team, spearheaded by the guidance counselors, with the goal to have the program fully implemented next year. The program reinforces the same expectations to all students – from preschoolers to seniors. Students are reminded to be responsible for themselves, respectful of others, and safe in their schools. That common language will follow the students every year of school. “Those expectations are going to be the same,” Garbig said. “I think it’s going to make a difference.” The PBIS program focuses on positive reinforcement. Students caught being good are given “pride” slips. “Pride” postcards signed by teachers, are addressed to children and mailed to their homes. “It’s a way to celebrate the positive behaviors,” said teacher Stacey Higgins. Posters stating expectations of students are placed around the school, defining good behavior in the hallways, cafeteria, playground, bus, or during assemblies. To trick is to make it fun to behave. Crim staff and students made a video showing examples of bad and good behavior. The twist was that the teachers were the ones misbehaving, and the students were schooling them. The video shows teachers messing around during lunch, running in the halls, banging on bathroom doors, throwing items in the classroom, and climbing around the seats on the bus. The students then get their turn of exhibiting the right way to behave in each setting. “Obviously there’s more to education than reading and writing,” said school board member Paul Walker.


BG students speak up without making a sound

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the students in Laura Weaver’s class last week practiced a new language, there were no new words coming from their mouths. They were talking with their hands. The fifth grade students in the PACE gifted and talented class held at Kenwood Elementary were learning American Sign Language. They fired off words, asking for their signs – please, thank you, hello, family, numbers – and the necessities like cookie, ice cream and popcorn. Marta Crow, a retired Penta Career Center teacher for hearing impaired students, kept up with their requests. The theme in Weaver’s class this year is “communication,” so she thought it would be good for the students to learn unspoken language. “I wanted them to understand the foundation of it,” she said. And the lessons went beyond the words themselves. “You have to understand diversity and adversity,” Weaver added. “It just seemed like the right thing to do with these kids.” “We’re so used to speaking language, when you don’t hear it, it’s a whole different world,” she said. Weaver planned to take the sign language lesson further later in the week, with students putting in ear plugs and trying to communicate. They would also be creating clay hands forming a sign language symbol. “I’ve got 50 pounds of clay waiting,” she said, smiling. And then they might give Braille a try. “That could be something cool to try,” Weaver said. Meanwhile, the students were mastering some simple sentences in sign – many having to do with cookies and popcorn. And they were learning that placement of the hands is quite important, so “please” isn’t confused for “hungry.” Crow, who had a deaf roommate in college at Bowling Green State University, said that sign language is misinterpreted no more often than verbal communication. “It’s such an expressive language,” she said. Unlike verbal communication, in which most people use just their mouths, sign language involves the face, the entire body and the space around it. “It’s not just the hands,” Crow said, using sign language to tell a short story to the students. “I use the space around me. It’s the whole package.” Crow has interpreted events using sign language for BGSU graduations, BGSU freshman welcome programs, the inauguration of BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey, and a funeral. She has to edit some portions, she explained, since sayings like “raining cats…


Trump ruling won’t change BG Schools’ transgender policy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Despite President Donald Trump revoking restroom rights of transgender youth in public schools, Bowling Green City Schools plans to continue accommodating the students. The Trump administration recently withdrew Obama-era protections for transgender students in public schools that let them use bathrooms and facilities corresponding with their gender identity. That change won’t affect Bowling Green schools, according to Superintendent Francis Scruci. “We were already accommodating kids before” President Barack Obama’s ruling, so they will continue doing so now, Scruci said on Monday. “We’re going to do what’s right for kids,” he said. Scruci referred to a non-discrimination policy adopted by the board of education in 2014. That stands, regardless of an attempt by Trump to revoke rights of transgender students. “We’re still going to protect kids and give them a safe place and a non-threatening environment,” he said. Last year, when the Obama administration issued the restroom order, Bowling Green High School was already accommodating transgender students. Principal Jeff Dever said last year the high school already had taken steps to make transgender students feel safe and welcome – by allowing students to use the restroom for the gender they identify as, and by calling students by their chosen names and pronouns. “What I have heard from students is their greatest angst comes from using the restroom,” he said. “I understand that completely.” The school also tries to accommodate transgender students in other ways. As soon as the student identifies as the other sex, the staff is instructed to use the student’s chosen name and matching pronoun. “I’ve been told anecdotally that we handle it pretty well,” Dever said. “As a public school we have a moral obligation to serve everybody,” the principal said. If a student identifies with a different gender, “we’re going to support them as much as we can.” Most of the student body at the high school is similarly accepting, Dever said. The BGHS Gay Straight Alliance was honored last year by the city’s Human Relations Commission for its work in making all students feel safe and welcome at school. “They are students who support their friends and classmates,” Dever said. But the principal realizes that while many of the students are accepting, some are not. “I think for some of our students, it’s always going to be an issue,” he said. “I just have to keep my eyes…


BG Schools to survey citizens on building options

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green area residents will soon get to grade school building options in the district. Over the past nine months, Superintendent Francis Scruci held several open houses in different settings to find out if citizens want to construct new buildings, renovate the old, or do nothing. But he kept seeing the same faces at the meetings. So he reached out to a survey firm used in the past to gauge citizen opinion. But the customary $4,000 price tag had jumped to $12,500 due to the complications of using cell phones rather than landlines. Another firm was consulted, but cost even more, at $25,000. So Bowling Green State University professor Shannon Orr offered up her public administration graduate students to do the job, for $4,000. The surveys will be mailed out later this week to 2,000 randomly selected taxpayers in the Bowling Green School District. The surveys have just 10 questions with many of them concerning demographics. The meat of the survey asks residents to rank the building options for the district. Those choices are: Combine the three elementary schools into one new building, and build a new high school. Combine the three elementary schools into one new building, and renovate the high school. Renovate Conneaut, Kenwood and the high school. Build a new Conneaut, and renovate Kenwood and the high school. Keep all the buildings as they are. Accompanying the survey is an explanation of the costs to renovate and build, plus the costs to taxpayers. The recently renovated Crim Elementary and BG Middle School are not included, since they are only in need of yearly upkeep. A letter from Scruci also explains the conditions of the schools and the ranking of the projects by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. The grad students working on the project – Toni Shoola, Kaitlyn Trent and Travis Clements – are hoping for a survey return rate of 32 to 33 percent, or close to 700. The surveys include a self-addressed stamped envelope to encourage people to return them by March 14. “All they have to do is answer it and put it in the mail,” Scruci said. “The board wanted to make sure all the community had an opportunity,” Scruci said. And the public meetings just weren’t reaching enough. “We were getting a lot of the same people. The board wants to hear from everybody.”…


Boys shower area fix could soak district for $425,000

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When it rains, it pours. That seems to go for showers as well. The Bowling Green Board of Education got the news Tuesday evening that repairs to the high school boys lockeroom shower area could cost between $380,000 and $425,000. “It’s not a cheap fix,” said Kent Buehrer, of Buehrer Group Architecture. Those estimates include fixing and reconfiguring the shower area, plus renovating the toilets, training room and coaches’ offices. The board was made aware of the shower problems last month when Superintendent Francis Scruci said boys were not able to shower after gym or athletics because the shower area had been shut off due to large cracks in the walls and floor. Buehrer showed slides of the area beneath the shower room floor, where the floor deck was sagging. He said this is a common problem in schools built in the 1960s and 1970s, where water leaks cause corrosion of the bar joists. So while the estimate was higher than expected, Buehrer did offer a small bit of good news. “The roof isn’t going to collapse. That’s a good thing,” he said. The heavy masonry wall in the center of the shower room has settled and is pulling away from the roof deck. While fixing the shower room, Buehrer suggested that the toilet area be updated to make it ADA accessible. The weight room, which has been in need of repairs for years, may also be added to the renovation project. Funding for the project will come from the school district’s permanent improvement levy, according to Treasurer Rhonda Melchi and board president Ellen Scholl. Those funds may also be used to resurface the track surrounding the football field. “The track is down to the asphalt,” Scruci said. The good news in this case, is that there are no cracks in the asphalt. Replacing the track with latex, which lasts five to eight years, is estimated to cost $75,000 to $85,000. The cost for a polyurethane surface, which lasts 12 to 15 years, is estimated at $175,000 to $180,000. The current track surface is latex, which was put in 10 year ago. Board member Jill Carr asked about the possibility of raising funds for the track project by approaching alumni and others who may want to donate. Scruci agreed that could be a possibility. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board heard…


Scruci gets new three-year contract with schools

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci was given a three-year renewal of his contract Tuesday evening by the board of education. His annual salary is $144,000. The board praised Scruci’s work in the district and gave him unanimous support. “Thank you for all that you do for us,” Board President Ellen Scholl said to Scruci. During his 18 months as superintendent, Scruci has been a very visible presence in the community. He holds regular “coffees” with the public, and produces weekly videos about what is happening in the district. He has been a steady presence at extra-curricular events, creating positive relationships with students. In an effort to get input from the community on handling school building needs, Scruci has held open meetings in each school building. His new contract will run from Aug. 1, 2018 to July 31, 2021. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Scruci informed the board that he feels compelled to express his personal feelings about national and state issues that he believes are damaging to public education. The superintendent is no fan of newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. So he plans to send a letter to DeVos, asking her to come spend some time at Bowling Green City Schools. Scruci has been open about his strong reservations about DeVos, who is a proponent of charter schools. “Public education is being threatened,” Scruci said. DeVos’ confirmation must not distract schools from their focus on educating students, he added. “We can’t as a district allow ourselves to be consumed by this,” Scruci said. Public schools throughout the nation need to make it clear to DeVos that charter schools are not the answer to education. So Scruci said Tuesday that he will be writing to DeVos and inviting her to visit Bowling Green City Schools. “This country was built on public education,” he said. “Kids are our focus.” Scruci also expressed concerns about a new requirement for teachers in the state budget bill. Gov. John Kasich is proposing that teachers and administrators be required to do internships in business in order to get recertified every five years. “I’m not sure how our teachers will find the time,” Scruci said, adding this is just “another stressor on our teachers.” The state budget bill also includes another new requirement that school boards add three non-voting members from the business community. Scruci said Bowling Green’s board…


Teachers give failing grade to Kasich plan requiring them to do business ‘internships’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Buried on page 1,056 of Gov. John Kasich’s state budget is a proposed requirement that has teachers wondering if they will have to flip patties at burger joints or stock shelves at grocery stores. The provision basically turns teachers into business interns every five years as a new requirement for educator license renewals. The language reads like this: Beginning September 1, 2018, the state board of education’s rules for the renewal of educator licenses shall require each applicant for renewal of a license to complete an on-site work experience with a local business or chamber of commerce as a condition of renewal. Work experience obtained pursuant to this section shall count toward any required continuing education. Each local professional development committee established under section 3319.22 of the Revised Code shall work with its teachers to identify local work experience opportunities that meet the requirements of this section. Some local teachers have taken to Facebook to express their displeasure. They have questioned whether Kasich doesn’t realize they have full-time jobs. They have proposed that the governor should have to spend time working in a public school, or that legislators perform internships in classrooms. Bowling Green City Schools Superintendent Francis Scruci said he is trying to not over-react to some of the more unusual provisions in the budget bill. “I always try to keep my composure,” he said Thursday afternoon. “Whatever is proposed will probably not be the final product.” State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, said he suspects the provision may not make it into the final budget bill. “There are always things in the budget that experience the delete button,” Gardner, a former Otsego High School history teacher, said Wednesday evening. Scruci admitted that he is baffled by the “internship” requirement. “It’s confusing to me what the purpose would be. I’m sure in the governor’s mind this makes sense,” he said. Though the details of the requirement are sketchy, Scruci surmised teachers would be expected to perform these internships during the summers. “I guess he’s asking them to give up their summers,” he said. “I think our teachers have enough state mandates and national mandates. I don’t know where they would find enough hours in the day.” The budget bill also has language requiring school boards to have three non-voting members who represent business in their districts. Again, this requirement has superintendents…


Elementaries unwrap sweet story for 1 Book BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last year’s 1 Book BG about Humphrey the hamster caused hamster sales to spike in the Bowling Green area. This year’s book could cause chocolate sales to do the same. “That was such a hard act to follow,” Crim third grade teacher Jonelle Semancik said. “We were hoping to strike gold with this one.” It may not be gold – but chocolate is just as good. Bowling Green City Schools has started its second annual 1 Book BG program, which engages all 1,700 of its pre-kindergartners through its fifth graders to read the same book. This year, the book is “The Chocolate Touch.” The story is a twist on the ancient Midas touch tale, but in this case it’s about a young boy who loves chocolate. He eats so much that the doctor advises his parents to restrict the sweets. The boy is not pleased, until he comes upon a spell that turns everything his lips touch to chocolate. While initially a dream come true, you can imagine the problems that might arise. The 1 Book BG program gets everyone in the three elementaries on board reading the same book – whether it’s being read aloud to the younger students, or by themselves by the older students. “It’s to really build a love of reading with the kids – to create a love of lifelong reading,” Semancik said. Crim Elementary held a family night event Monday evening, encouraging parents to get on board. School counselor Mary Beth Ellison, dressed as a blue M&M, greeted the families. “Everybody is working together,” Ellison said, noting the enthusiasm of the students. “They come in with their books, reading before school.” The program doesn’t stop at the school doors. The entire community is asked to get involved. “We want anyone in contact with children to show how important reading is,” Semancik said. This year, 12 Bowling Green businesses have gotten involved by becoming trivia sites for the students. Each week, new trivia questions about the book are posed at the sites. “We wanted to get out in the community and get them involved in the schools,” Semancik said. Jumping on board was the Wood County District Public Library, which has displayed books about chocolate all around the library. Maria Simon, head of youth services at the library, stocked up on chocolate puns for the program. “This…


Gardner listens to concerns over state budget proposal

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It will be months before State Senator Randy Gardner has to vote on the state budget. That’s why he spent Saturday morning at Wood County District Public Library listening to citizens. There was a long list of concerns. The room was filled with citizens worried about paying for health care, municipal leaders concerned about taking further funding cuts, and BGSU professors dreading state decisions. “The budget is many months away from my vote,” said Gardner, R-Bowling Green. So Saturday was part of the senator’s first steps. “The first responsibility is to listen,” he said. Gardner said he spent time Friday at a Toledo area hospital with parents of a toddler named Evelyn, who has cystic fibrosis. The state budget includes a provision that will shift the Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps into the Medicaid program. It’s those kind of personal stories that Gardner said he needs to hear prior to casting a vote. The 3,512-page state budget is now in House hearings, where it will be voted on in early May. Then it moves to the Senate, where it will face a vote around June 21. Gov. John Kasich will then sign the budget by the end of June, so the fiscal year can start on July 1. The budget includes “hundreds and hundreds of line items,” Gardner said. He cautioned that the governor has the final say on some by invoking his line item veto power. “It’s not all about what the legislature puts in. It’s about what the governor can do,” he said. In response to a question from Bowling Green City Council member Bruce Jeffers, Gardner also explained that even though the Republicans have the majority of the House, the Senate, the governor’s seat and nearly every other state office, that doesn’t mean there is a united front on issues. “We have a lot of differing opinions of how to move forward,” Gardner said. Public school funding is always a battle, and is still being debated. Gardner mentioned Senate Bill 8, which he introduced as a way to help school districts that don’t rank high for the traditional school facilities dollars. Bowling Green City School District is one of those since the perceived wealth of the district makes it unqualified for much building money from the state. While it’s not as much as the school facilities funding, the…


School custodians clean up where others fear to go

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   They are the first to get to school and the last to leave. They are the ones who rush to clean up after a sick child, and the ones stuck cleaning out gross lockers. “They are often overlooked in a building,” head custodian Chuck Martin said to the Bowling Green Board of Education last week as he presented some details about school custodians. “Everyone expects a building to magically become clean.” The custodians are charged with opening the schools early, emptying trash, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning toilets and sinks, replenishing supplies, making minor repairs, cleaning windows, removing snow, setting up for extra activities, unloading trucks, assisting with fire and tornado drills, and closing up at the end of the day. They arrive at school around 6 a.m., and at the high school the last one leaves around 11:30 p.m. “We can’t have public in the building without a custodian there,” Martin said. To give some idea of the scope of the responsibilities, Martin said the district’s custodians have almost one mile of hallways to mop, 232 toilets and urinals to clean, and more than 175 sinks to scrub. There are 18 custodians in the district – two in each elementary, five and a half in the middle school, and six and a half in the high school. Since the district has 452,000 square feet of building space, that means each custodian is charged with keeping 25,115 square feet clean. “This is every day, five days a week,” Martin said. During the summer, while students and staff are gone, the custodians’ jobs continue. They clean the furniture and all the surfaces in classrooms, “from the ceiling down,” Martin said. They refinish floors, scrub carpets, and at the middle school and high school, they have the unpleasant task of cleaning out whatever students left behind in their lockers – “which is quite a task,” Martin said. The custodians take a lot of pride in the condition of their buildings, he said. “Everyone who works in their building takes their building seriously,” Martin said. As Martin wrapped up his presentation, the last Power Point screen sang the praises of the school district’s “quiet hero” – the school custodian who cleans messes no one else dares to touch, and who befriends everyone who passes by.    


BG high students get in the act as directors in this weekend’s showcase

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Claire Wells-Jensen is trying to block a quartet of actors on the stage of the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. The arrangement of actors just doesn’t seem to be coming together quite like she and co-director Lily Krueger envisioned. “This is the most stressful thing I’ve ever done,” she says. Maybe as frustrating as a mom trying to hustle a teenage daughter off to school. Maybe as frustrating as herding cats… on the internet. Wells-Jensen and Krueger are directing “The Internet is Distract – Oh Look A Kitten!” That’s one of four one-act plays on the bill Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 7 p.m. at the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. The school’s Improv Troupe will also perform. Tickets are $8 and $6 for students and senior citizens. Seniors with a Bobcat Pass get in free. Jo Beth Gonzalez, the advisor for the Drama Club, said the program of one-act plays gives students a chance assume the director’s role. “Kids think directing is easy until they do it. They learn so much,” she said. Certainly that was the case for Krueger and Wells-Jensen. “It was not what I expected,” Krueger said.  “We’ve been in one acts directed by students, and you think you know what they’re going through, but it completely different.” The responsibility for the play from selection to staging falls on their shoulders. Wells-Jensen and Krueger realized their young cast needed a little more help concentrating so they did four focus exercises before each rehearsal. The other plays on the bill are: “Windmills and Millstones” by Louise Wade, directed by Meagan Worthy, a thought-provoking play about characters whose playwright has abandoned them. “Action News: Now With 10% More Action” by Jonathan Rand, directed by Rachel Amburgey, a comedy that spoofs local TV news. “Life as a Techie or Something Like It” by Christopher Fleitas, directed by Natalie Avery and Jessica Wilson, a comedy in which a student must decide which faction to belong to – the theatre techies or the actors – of a hilariously bad high school musical. Gonzalez said students must make a proposal explaining why they want to direct and what script they’ve chosen. She said she can give them some guidance as far as scripts, and they see some at the annual state thespian conference. But they often go online to find plays. “They’re sleuths,” the drama teacher…


Questions grow about education secretary pick

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci couldn’t help but think of a comedy sketch when Betsy DeVos, nominee for Education Secretary, testified last week that guns may be needed in schools to defend against grizzly bears. “I looked at a lot of the testimony and all I could envision is a Saturday Night Live skit,” similar to the Sarah Palin “I can see Russia from my backyard” sketch, Scruci said. It would be funny – if it weren’t so scary. When the Bowling Green Board of Education met last week, it was a sobering thought that DeVos’ confirmation hearing was going on at the same time in Washington, D.C. “She is definitely not a friend of public education,” Scruci said. “Her appointment would change the landscape for public education.” DeVos is a multi-billionaire, who never attended public schools, has been a cheerleader for charter schools, and reportedly owes the state of Ohio $5 million for campaign issues. At the school board meeting, Scruci asked anyone who cares about public education to write letters and make phone calls expressing their concerns to legislators about her appointment. “I became even more concerned during the hearings,” Scruci said later last week. Scruci said his comments about DeVos have led to at least one suggestion that he be careful about expressing himself on political issues. “My feelings have absolutely nothing to do with politics,” he said Friday afternoon. “This is strictly from an education point of view. Her track record has been anti-public schools. To replace public education with for-profit options is not a good thing.” DeVos’ testimony last week showed some serious gaps her in education about education. Her answers reflected an unawareness of federal laws providing education for children with disabilities, and protection against harassment and bullying. She consistently said that many decisions are best left to the states – seemingly unaware that they were federal laws providing for these children. Scruci was also troubled that DeVos was unaware of basic education terms regarding performance assessments. She did not know the difference between growth (how much students have learned over a period) and proficiency (which measures how many students reached a specific score). “To not know the difference between proficiency and growth further emphasizes what she doesn’t know,” Scruci said. “How can some be confident that she can lead education in the U.S.?” DeVos’ background…


BG foundation gives grants to community groups

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Community organizations were given grants earlier this week to bring music, sports, reading and more to Bowling Green. The grants, from the Bowling Green Community Foundation, are intended to help the very young to the very old, and everyone in between. The annual grant program began after the 1993 BG Leadership class started the foundation in order to help local groups serve the community, explained Cal Bowers, president of the foundation. “What you’re doing speaks to the vibrancy of our community. You’re at the core of it,” said Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards. This year’s grants total $29,000 for 14 different projects. “That’s an impact to this community,” Bowers said. Following is a list of all the projects awarded grants. BG Area Community Bands – $2,250 for a community band festival. “This is our 10th year as a community band. We feel we have become a staple in the community,” said Ardy Gonyer. “We’re very grateful for the support of Bowling Green.” Thom Headley explained the grant will help the band put on a concert with a guest conductor on May 6. BG City Schools – $1,000 for One Book BG literacy program. Two third grade teachers, Jeni Niekamp and Jonelle Semancik explained the grant will help the schools purchase books for every pre-kindergarten through fifth grade student. The reading program unites families and the community around one common book. “It’s created to promote a love of learning,” Semancik said. BG Parks and Recreation Department – $5,000 for the natural obstacle course. Ivan Kovacevic, of the parks and rec department, said the outdoor obstacle course behind the community center has already been the site of the Zombie Mud Run last fall. BG Parks and Recreation Department – $5,000 for waterpark splashpad creature. The splashpad additions help complete the area for the youngest pool users. “They are both really true community projects,” Kovacevic said of the pool and obstacle course. BG Youth Hockey Association – $1,100 for rink system upgrade. The hockey program involves 315 kids, ages 5 to 15, said Jennifer Bowers. “It’s a really big asset for the community,” she said. “It’s a team of people volunteering a lot of hours. The problem is we don’t have enough equipment.” The grant will help replace orange cones and upside-down buckets with real hockey goals. Bobcat Advocates – $1,310 for downtown banners. The…


What’s that smell? Could be unshowered athletes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   That unpleasant odor may not be a rotting sandwich in the bottom of your teen’s backpack, or a sweaty pair of gym shoes under the bed. It could be emanating directly from your student. Bowling Green Board of Education was notified Tuesday that the high school boys locker room showers have been out of commission since last year. According to head custodian Chuck Martin, the bar joist under the floor of the shower area is starting to collapse. So the showers have been off limits to boys in physical education classes and varsity sports. Martin attributed the problem to poor design when the locker room showers were built in the early 1960s. Moisture and steam leaks are causing supports to bend. “There are cracks in the walls that are three-quarter inch wide,” he said. The locker rooms are safe to use – just not the showers. Board members asked where the boys are showering at school after gym or athletics. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci answered –  they aren’t. Scruci compared the problem to the football bleachers that were replaced last year after the district became aware of rusting issues. “They are rusting from the inside out,” he said. “Outside the building looks great,” Scruci said of the high school. But a closer look inside reveals some problems. Like the bleachers, the fix for the shower room won’t be cheap. A new floor will need to be put in, Scruci said. Preliminary estimates for fixing the problem are somewhere in the $200,000s or $300,000s. A presentation of the project will be given to the board of education during the February board meeting. Scruci said he hopes the district can go out for bids on the project in March.  


Survey costs stymie collection of more community input on BG School buildings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City School officials want to know what local residents think about the various building plan options, but they don’t want to spend a fortune collecting those opinions. The costs submitted by surveying firms ranged from $12,500 to $24,000. “I think that’s a lot of money to sample the population,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said Tuesday during the board of education meeting. “That’s a big chunk of change,” for gathering the opinions of approximately 300 people, he said. The school district is facing the decision of building one new facility for all the elementaries, or remodeling the elementary schools, plus making some major renovations at the high school. Scruci tried to take the public’s pulse about the options with a series of public meetings held at each of the school buildings. But it seemed that a lot of the same people showed up for most of the meetings. “I feel strongly that we don’t have enough community input right now,” to make a decision, said school board member Jill Carr. Scruci agreed that he would like more input, but the professional survey prices have gone up substantially since many people no longer have landlines, and it is more costly to access people’s cell phones. The board discussed various options, such as putting a survey on the district’s website, or possibly using the city’s all-call system to notify local residents. But the difficulty is still how to reach farm families in the district, retirees, and people without children – many who may not be aware of the building discussions. Board member Bill Clifford shared Carr’s concerns. “We don’t have a lot of data,” he said. And the estimates from the professional survey firms are “hard for me to swallow.” However, “We know our facilities are in need,” and delays in getting public input means the district “keeps on spinning our wheels,” Clifford said. Scruci said he would work on coming up with some type of survey and bring it back to the board next month. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board took action to put a 0.5 percent income tax renewal on the ballot in May. The tax duration would be five years. Scruci also said he is looking for some dates to hold a public meeting on possible plans to start conducting drug testing of students. The testing could start as early…