The Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees entertained comments from Kirk Smith of Clay City at their monthly meeting Thursday night.
Smith has two children who attend Clay City Elementary School and he expressed concern over the lack of air conditioning in the school. He says that windows in the building do not even open to allow circulation, so it is "like an oven in there" causing students to come home "sick and hot." He suggested that either school should start later in the year or that air conditioning should be installed immediately.
He also mentioned the proposed fiber optics project, which would not benefit Clay City schools. Smith stated that he feels that Clay City students are often treated as "second-class" by the Board and that it would be a "selfish decision" if the Board voted to go ahead with this project before equipping Clay City and Meridian Elementary Schools with air conditioning.
Superintendent William Schad gave his reports on school enrollment and the "extremely smooth start for school" that was "completely without incident" before addressing the heat problem. He told the Board that he hopes to discuss "performance contracting" with them, which he hopes may allow them to do both air conditioning projects and still have money left over for the fiber optics.
He went on to say that there is already an excessive heat/early dismissal policy in effect for the Corporation. Schad has been using the heat index as a "rule of thumb" and he asks that the school's principals be lenient in allowing parents to take their children out early on hot days.
Joe Thomas added that he was first elected to the School Board five years ago and that at that time, there was no talk of air conditioning for the elementary schools at all. Two years ago, he said, they decided to do the cheapest projects first and that getting the two remaining schools air conditioning is a "priority."
Board President Steven Grigsby explained that the Board had been told that the Corporation "really couldn't borrow any more money," so they decided to pay for the projects they go. He assured Smith that they "certainly want to get them both done next summer."
Schad further informed the Board that at the October meeting, he hopes to schedule a work session with the School Board to "explore short-term and long-term" and talk about "setting goals." He said he would like to talk about facilities on "both ends of the county."
The first item discussed under New Business was the "chain of command." Schad talked about the importance of going to "the person closest to the problem" in order to get it "resolved a lot quicker."
Board member Jon Hull agreed, but said that in the past the School Corporation has sometimes "managed by conflict and managed by intimidation." Therefore he thinks the Board has to work on letting people know they can trust that their concerns won't get "swept under the rug" or down-played.
No action was taken on the matter. Schad said he was "not recommending that we change Board policy. I'm just recommending that we follow it."
In other business, the Board:
- Approved "Cumberland Road Academy" as the new name for the Alternative School
- Gave permission to advertise for the purchase of six conventional school buses, tires and fuel as what Schad called a "regular part of our bus replacement plan"
- Discussed insurance and fringe benefits for classified and administrative non-teaching staff