Board vote on SEOAL brings confusion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Ironton school board voted Tuesday night to withdraw from the South East Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) at the end of the district’s contract, but there is some question about whether the vote is valid.

Board member Bob Vaughn proposed the resolution to “to proceed with getting out of the SEOAL and get into another league when the contract is up.”

It was passed 3-2, with fellow members Jerry Rowe and Kathy Kratzenberg voting with Vaughn and fellow members Tim Johnson and Robert Pleasant Jr., voting against it.

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Since the resolution was not made on the recommendation of the superintendent, there was some question about whether the vote will stand because it takes four votes to overrule a superintendent’s recommendation on some matters. Superintendent Dean Nance said he is seeking a legal opinion about the vote.

In voting for the resolution, Rowe said one of his concerns was the distance students sometimes travel to get to games, sometimes traveling as far away as Zanesville and back in an evening, often during the school week. He also pointed out that a community member had attended a board meeting back in the summer and suggested getting out of the SEOAL, and nothing had been done about the request, a pointed also made by Kratzenberg.

“Quite often we bring things up and nothing gets done about them,” Kratzenberg said.

But Johnson and Pleasant expressed concerns about making a decision so quickly without getting Athletic Director Mark Vass’ input.

“We need him to contrast and compare with previous years,” Johnson said. “I feel like we need to know about things like scheduling and bus costs and gate receipts before we make a resolution that we’re going to be out (of the SEOAL). I’m not saying I’m for or against the SEOAL, just that I think we need to compare.”

Nance pointed out that in the past, teams drove as far away as Belfry, Ky., and back to play games during the school week. He also pointed out that schedules are often done far in advance, making a quick exit from a league more difficult. He said he would ask Vass to be at the next board meeting to discuss the idea.

Vass was contacted but not immediately available for comment on the resolution. Ohio School Boards Association legal counsel Edmund Brown was also contacted about the legality of the resolution but was also not immediately available.