WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley Community Local Schools Board of Education held its regular meeting, Monday, July 25.
During the public participation portion of the meeting, the board heard from Kelli Wright, a parent of Twin Valley South students for the past 15 years, who addressed the school’s dual sports policy.
“I’m asking for consideration to changing the rule of athletes not being able to play two sports in a single season. In the spring, my daughter had asked about the possibility of competing in football-cheerleading as well as volleyball, due to her senior year at CTC,” said Wright.
Wright claims the school’s previous athletic director had denied her daughter’s request, due to the school policy limiting athletes to one team sport and one individual sport a season.
“A little bit of history about our two-sport athletes. About 10 or 12 years ago, we allowed two sports across the board. We had football players playing soccer, and everything in-between. And at that time, it really didn’t work so well. We had football players who would never practice soccer but then go and play games, and it didn’t ever work out so well.” Superintendent Scott Cottingim explained.
“Honestly, it kind of baffled me,” said Wright. “Because my boys both ran track and cross-country at South, and we have had baseball players run on our team. We’ve had football players run on the cross-country team.”
Wright expressed her concern the dual sport policy will have a negative impact on the school’s athletics, considering the limited number of students attending TVS.
“We just don’t have kids to play sports,” Wright concluded.
Board president Mike Randolph answered, “Obviously we always want to do what’s best for every student athlete here. And we are looking at this whole process. We will look at everything you’ve brought to us, and will definitely have Mr. Cottingim and Mr. Campbell get back to you with a final decision. But, you know, we just want to make sure we’ve crossed ‘Ts’ and dotted ‘Is’ because as we are doing something for one student athlete, we want to make sure we have not alienated someone else.”
The board will consider Wright’s request with the school’s Athletic Director Braxton Campbell and all relevant parties, and come to a decision.
Also during public participation, Ashley Myers of West Alexandria Village Council issued a grievance to the board.
“My son is going into fifth grade and his class has been the smallest class, about 40 kids. So ever since first grade, they’ve only had two teachers each grade. It seems like when he only has two teachers there is a subject they don’t get taught. I know in third grade they did not get taught science, they only got basically math and English. And I feel that they are losing out. So this year, coming into fifth grade, they’re going to have a teacher who hasn’t taught math in 10 years just because they don’t have a third teacher to help round out the kids. And I know that it’s a small class, but I feel like they are losing out on their education.”
The board made no comment to Myers’ observation.
In other business:
• The board received technology updates from Derrick Myers, the district’s technology coordinator. TVS is wrapping up with replacing Chromebooks for students, installing flat panels to replace old projectors in the classroom, and remodeling the school’s computer lab.
• TVS has created a new full-time position for a groundskeeper who will report to the director of transportation. In the job definition it states the new hire will be, “Responsible for the school district’s grounds safety, maintenance and upkeep; includes responsibility for maintenance plan, repair/care of grounds, related work equipment, i.e., tractors, mowers, etc.”
• Superintendent Cottingim addressed a “rash” of resignations, but assured those gathered those resigning were mostly “improving their situations” by taking jobs at schools closer to their homes.
• The board accepted the resignations of numerous TVS employees. Jerod Hirner, high school English/Language Arts teacher; Cara Anderson, Intervention Specialist; Samantha Steiner, middle school English Language Arts teacher; Kathleen Oaster, Media Specialist; Aaron Schmitmeyer, middle school Math/Science teacher; Patrick Shockey, Intervention Specialist; Chris Michael, bus driver; and Patrick Shockey as middle school football coach. All resignations are effective at the end of the 2021-2022 contract year.
• The board approved employment of numerous new hires: Kristl Miller as an elementary fourth grade English Language Arts teacher; John Mohn as a high school English/Language Arts teacher; Gentry Glasscoe Schlamb as a middle school English/Language Arts teacher and Richie Faber as a middle school Mathematics teacher. All hires will be for the 2022-2023 school year.
• The board renewed contracts for members of TVS staff.
• The board received and reviewed the end of year discipline report for the 2021-2022 school year, with a grand total of 66 out-of-school suspensions and one in school suspension across all grades. The majority of violations were disobedient and disruptive behavior, with 51 incidents. The next highest violations, related to fighting or violence against a teacher or fellow student, was 28 incidents.
• Board member Tim Beneke took a moment to express his frustrations publicly regarding recent criticism the board has received.
“I guess there has been some rumbling out in the community about the way our school is run, or in their words, ‘a lack of.’ I never see these people show up to a board meeting to find out what is going on, they just assume. They sit on the sideline and complain. All they want to do is be part of the problem, rather than a solution.
“You got ideas to help our district? Come and share them with us. You pay taxes, have an interest in this district. Like everybody in this room. So I ask myself, why did you want to tear our district down, instead of helping us move it forward?
Beneke continued, “You know, I always thought it would be great to have a whole room full of people come to a board meeting. But just the same people come to the board meeting. Nobody comes to the board meeting with new ideas, or anything else like that. I just assume everything is going hunky-dory.
“Well then, I hear stuff like this out in the world. All they want to do is complain, they don’t want to come and help. If you got ideas, let us know. If you got questions, ask us. If we don’t have answers, we’ll get you the answers. I’ve been on this board for 20 years, we’ve always got the people the answers.
“This kind of stuff ticks me off, to be honest with you. I’m a straight shooter, I shoot from the hip. I don’t sugarcoat anything. I just wish these people would actually come, ask questions, instead of assuming. Because 99 percent of their assumptions are wrong.”
The Twin Valley Community Local Schools Board of Education holds a meeting on the fourth Monday of every month, at 100 Education Drive, West Alexandria, in the school Media Center, at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057 and follow on Twitter @NathanHoskins13