Education: Wood BOE could use a change of pace

Newly elected members of the Wood County Schools Board of Education will take office July 1. They likely spent most of last weekend’s special meeting of the board wishing that current members would pump the brakes.

In what seemed like a confused, hurried and divided attempt to leave no loose end untied Saturday, board members approved a lease-purchase agreement not to exceed $500,000 for new artificial turf at Stadium Field, $300,000 in general funds to replace tennis courts at Erickson All-Sports Facility, $250,000 in general funds to resurface the running track at Williamstown High School and $700,000 in general funds to finish construction of restrooms at Erickson.

They also OKed a modified reimbursement agreement for the Stadium Field turf, which lumped in heating and air conditioning systems at area elementary schools and all architectural and engineering fees associated with those projects. The cap on those expenditures is $1.5 million.

“We’re just spending like crazy. The way it is written (the board) is just pushing it down the road,” said board member Ron Tice. “The board is not being fiscally responsible.”

At times, the proceedings were so discombobulated that Superintendent John Flint accidentally made a motion on his own recommendation. Board members are taking action to correct that particular misstep, now. But it is a mark of how hurried the entire session was — despite taking half an hour longer than planned because of an extended rehashing of complaints and concerns.

When new board members Debbie Hendershot, Rick Olcott and Justin Raber join current members Rick Tennant and Ron Tice July 1, they will also be working with a new superintendent.

“We are going to be managing things differently,” Olcott said.

Certainly not every meeting involving the current board and administration has been such a disoriented flurry of spending and pulpit pounding. But assuming Olcott was speaking in anticipation of Saturday’s spectacle, Wood County residents will be eagerly awaiting the change of pace.