TVCLSD board comments on picnic

By Kelsey Kimbler -

WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley Community Local School District has held a community picnic the past 27 years. This year saw some changes to the normal format, with a carnival theme and games for children attending. Not only were there carnival games and community booths set up, but the district’s open house took place during the same time frame.

The new format got some critiques during the TVCLSD Board of Education’s meeting on Monday, Aug. 27.

Board member Jason DeLong aired his grievances during the board comments section of the meeting.

“I think 80 or 85 percent of the people at the community picnic are there because they want to see who the teachers are and meet teams, staff members, see the cheerleaders and band do their thing, and meet the different teams like they’ve done in the past,” DeLong said. “That was kind of squashed [this year],” he said.

“Whoever is doing the community picnic, is there someone in here who can tell me how I’m wrong in my views?” he asked. “Whatever organization that is, they have good intentions, but the families come to the school to get a dollar cheeseburger and meet their teachers. There was a lot of congestion, a lot of unorganized situations, parents upset because they didn’t hear the band, parents upset because their daughter had to cheer at 5 p.m., instead of 6:30 p.m. like they have in the past, football was told they wouldn’t be announced, but other teams weren’t announced.”

“I don’t know how much we function in that, but in the future, if those people aren’t going to understand that the community picnic is a back-to-school celebration, then maybe they should go to Peace Park or out in the parking lot,” he continued. “If you polled the people in this room, I think people are not here to win a candle raffle.”

“I don’t mean any disrespect with that, but I think a lot of people felt disrespected and it was that way last year too,” DeLong said. “I think it keeps inching that direction. We might want to evaluate how we do that next year.”

“I’d like to say, I think they were just trying something new to freshen it up a little bit,” Board member Christine Bitner responded. “With it being the first time they were trying this carnival approach, surely they will learn from their mistakes. I think her intentions were trying to make it a little bit newer.”

“I did like having the open house and I know there have been years when they haven’t had the open house. I agree people want to come in, see their classroom, and I think that part was great,” Bitner added. “Being the first time she tried this, I think she has probably learned a decent amount and she worked real hard. Hopefully, her endeavor to make it something new and fresh worked to bring new people in.”

Grade 7-12 Principal Scott Cottingim noted, there were more kids at the picnic then there have been in the past, with the games having drawn them in.

“I just felt like there were two things and they weren’t much working together,” DeLong said.

Other board members agreed maybe the timing and coordination was not all together. One staff member noted, not as much food was sold this year, because the line for tickets was too hard to navigate.

In the future, the board said, organization of the event could be further perfected.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH