Security concerns among issues raised at Loudonville-Perrysville school board meeting

LOUDONVILLE − Safety and security issues, flooded gym reconstruction, obsolete keycard technology and the school calendar were all discussed at a marathon school board meeting and work session Monday.

Superintendent Catherine Puster brought up installing bulletproof glass in school buildings to protect staff and students.

“This precaution is being suggested by law enforcement as a way to lessen dangers of school shootings,” Puster said. No one offered information on how much such a security measure might cost.

Another security issue raised was that the keycard system at the high school building is obsolete, according to Principal Chrissy Butts.

“The manufacturer will no longer service our system,” she told the Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted Village Schools Board of Education during the Jan. 23 three-hour special session.

Several doors in school facilities are also in need of replacement, including at Budd Elementary School and the field house. Board members and Building and Grounds Supervisor Shayne McCaskey discussed the possibility of making at least one of the field house doors keycard-accessible so students can enter the building without calling a staff member to open it.

McCaskey also updated the board on progress of repairs at Budd, where a waterline break resulted in flooding of the school gym, part of the auditorium, three classrooms and the music room.

Wind tunnels are used to dry the water-damaged floor in the Budd School gymnasium after a waterline break caused by subzero temperatures Dec. 24 and 25. An update on repairs to the 1924 building was given at the Jan. 23 L-P school board meeting.
Wind tunnels are used to dry the water-damaged floor in the Budd School gymnasium after a waterline break caused by subzero temperatures Dec. 24 and 25. An update on repairs to the 1924 building was given at the Jan. 23 L-P school board meeting.

“We are just about finished removing the damaged gym floor, and the new floor could be installed within a couple of weeks,” McCaskey said. Insurance is paying for the new floor, he added.

McCaskey said the quick repair of the floor is in part happening because it is in the middle of basketball season and very little gym floor work is being done now.

One of the three damaged classrooms will be reopened soon, and work continues on other damaged areas, he added.

Loudonville-Perrysville BOE rejects school calendar again

After a 40-minute discussion, the board rejected the administration's latest proposed school calendar for the 2023-'24 school year, as it did at the regular meeting Jan. 9. Again the main objection is the proposed two-hour late starts on 14 days during the school year to accommodate staff in-service programs.

Puster has argued in-service days are necessary because of so many new teachers on staff. The district has experienced a nearly 50% turnover in teachers over the past two years.

High School English Teacher Marissa Burd made a dramatic plea for the staff development time.

"Teachers today will not agree to participate in in-services after school hours, nor can the administration compel them to do so," she said. "We know late starts will cause disruption regarding child care for many families, and the school has agreed to provide child care for affected children. Shortages of substitute teachers have forced teachers to cover for other teachers when they are absent, and they are also required to participate in regional meetings. All this points to a need for more in-service, planned development time. This need will lessen in future years as we catch up with planned development programming, but it is needed now.”

No board member would make a motion to approve the calendar and the issue is expected to come up again at the Feb. 13 meeting.

The board put off action on an employee handbook for nonunion employees. Member Bruce Davis suggested the handbook vote be tabled until he has more time to read and absorb it.

Members approved contractual amendments for high school Assistant Principal Dan Eckenwiler and Dean of Students/Athletic Director Tyler Bates on nonuse incentives for personal leave.

The board spent about 90 minutes in discussion with four representatives of the architectural design firm Garmann Miller, on the process to plan and proceed with a building project, and the way the firm pursues this process. Company CEO Eric Baltzell showcased the firm’s efforts to communicate building needs to the community.

Garmann Miller has been or is involved in building initiatives in several area school districts, including Clear Fork, Lucas, Mansfield Madison and Shelby.

The firm's presentation was applauded by the board and the roughly 15 people in attendance at the meeting.

A closed-door meeting to discuss employment of a school official was held with no action taken afterward.

This article originally appeared on Ashland Times Gazette: Facilities, security dominate discussion at L-P school board meeting