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RH school board passes resolution to construct softball field

Books or balls?

The Rock Hill Board of Education Tuesday debated what the district’s priorities should be and whether the priority list should include a new girl’s softball field.

The board also voted to start the process of naming the high school gymnasium after a recently departed native son and fielded a suggestion from one board member that the district create its own hall of fame.

The board Tuesday night debated a resolution to pursue bids on excavating and constructing a new girl’s softball field. In the end the measure passed by one vote, with board members Lavetta Sites and Wanda Jenkins turning thumbs down and fellow board member Dennie Hankins, Jackie Harris and Paul R. Johnson opting to support it.

In June the board authorized superintendent Lloyd Evans to pursue price quotes to get the site cleared. Evans said he got two quotes and both came in well under the $25,000 he is allowed to spend without getting board approval, so he hired Steve Wilds Jr. to do the work at a cost of $15,000. Evans said that phase of the project is nearly completed and the next step is to excavate the site and then construct the actual facilities. Jenkins said she supports athletics but not at the expense of academics.

“The first thing I want to see is our curriculum up to standard,” Jenkins said. “We need a new math teacher in the elementary school and we need new bus drivers. Our first priority should be education. We need lockers in the middle school and they’re not up yet. I think we need to get our priorities straight.”

Athletic Director Bob Wilds pointed out that the district is obligated by federal law to provide equally for girls’ and boys’ facilities.

“Can this district stand a lawsuit on Title 9?” Wilds wanted to know.”

When it was pointed out money for capital improvements and money for salaries comes from two different funds, Sites asked why the old board last year opted to allocate so much money for capital improvements and less money for teachers and textbooks.

That’s when former board member Troy Hardy shouted out from the back of the room that the outgoing board opted to put more money in the capital improvements fund to keep the new board from spending it on teachers and bus drivers.

The board held off on hiring Darrell Humphreys as an assistant principal at the high school.

The matter was brought up for a vote but failed with Sites and Hankins abstaining, Jenkins voting no and Johnson and Harris voting in favor of the resolution

“We are creating a position and it has to be posted five working days,” Sites said.

The board did agree to hire

Robert Tanner Heaberlin, Paul Knipp

as teachers and Jill Huff as an intervention specialist but also voted to accept the resignations of

teachers Marty Mills and Andrew Clark.

“This upsets me to see all the good teachers leaving,” Jenkins said. “It really bothers me. I don’t know why they’re leaving, but something is wrong somewhere. Something has to be done to get people to stay here. We don’t see this in other districts. It’s a shame.”

The board agreed to ask Ray Zornes to chair a committee that will make recommendations for a memorial plaque

at the high school gym to honor the late Carl Large.

This came in spite of

debate about whether the idea was a good one or not.

Evans said the law firm of Bricker and Eckler sent him a written opinion that, while there was nothing illegal about naming the gym after Large, given the district’s lawsuit-happy, fuss-happy reputation, there could be legal ramifications of such an idea.

Sites said she queried the Ohio School Boards Association for a legal opinion on the matter and was told this was “perfectly legal.”

Hankins meanwhile suggested that the district create its own hall of fame, perhaps calling it the Tribe of Distinction, as a way of honoring the many successful people who have gotten their start in the district.

“This is a way that people who are worthy could be honored every year,” he said.

Hankins said his idea was not meant to replace the recommendation to honor Large.

“Carl is different,” he really stood out,” Hankins said.