Citizens react to ECHS football field turf idea

Debbie Blank | The Herald-TribuneEast Central High School seniors (from left) Brooke Hensley, Scott Jackson, Emily Katenkamp, Jenna Webster, Regan Tanner and Rebecca Dudley and teacher Brenda Osman discuss the Career and Technical Education Career Pathway in education.

ST. LEON – Three of about 20 attendees at the Dec. 14 Sunman-Dearborn Community School Corp. spoke about the proposed synthetic athletic turf for the East Central High School football field.

Marty Kraus, Brookville, a "concerned taxpayer," said he was against "the cost of it, the maintenance cost ... I feel a small percentage might maybe benefit from it ... I've just seen a lot of spending going on up here."

Board President Mike Norman said trustees and administrators were still gathering information and nothing had been decided. Superintendent Dr. Andrew Jackson said the topic will be discussed in February or March.

Of the football team, Dennis Rosemeyer, Sunman, reported the student-athletes "don't particularly want to play on this." At the Nov. 9 meeting, the superintendent said the band was in favor of the turf because it would allow the group to have more practices on the field. Rosemeyer asked, "Would there be an alternative, a soccer field," for the band to practice on?

Norman said the board will consider "what's best for the kids and the whole organization."

Bernice Rosemeyer, Sunman, Dennis Rosemeyer's sister-in-law, said, "I know injuries can occur" on synthetic turf. She suggested athletes and coaches be surveyed about replacing grass with a synthetic covering.

Jackson updated trustees about the annex, formerly North Dearborn Elementary School. He now has received two appraisals for $390,000 and $382,000. Attorney Frank Kramer will review the documents to further discuss its value at the Jan. 11 board meeting, when a lease with an option to buy will be discussed.

The administrator said, "We're still waiting on final word from the bond bank about moving that $1 million debt from that building to another building." Wolf Contracting provided a $436,000 demolition estimate. "That does not include the asbestos abatement," which would require work by another contractor.

Trustee Sara Hylton asked, "If we do decide to demolish it, where would those funds come from?" Jackson suggested the Capital Projects, General or Rainy Day Fund or a combination.

More discussion

• With two lawn care services employees resigning, Jackson felt it was "a good time to look at costs to see if we can mow the grass more efficiently with an outside contractor." The board approved a request for proposals 6-0 that asks to specify price per site per mowing. The contract will specify how many times areas will be mowed. The work may be split up among several contractors. The contract also could include landscaping maintenance and mulching. Snow removal and salt distribution and herbicide spraying and fertilizing could be contract alternates. Proposals are due by Jan. 12.

• After no public comments about additional appropriations, the board voted to spend up to $100,000 to buy a school bus. It will replace one that was totalled in a September accident. More dollars were needed after the insurance payment.

• "The students had a blast" at the Dec. 12 Sunman Elementary School "Winter Wonderland" concert, which concluded with pretend snow falling on them, according to principal Pamela Chambers. "That's a really big night for them to come over to the high school's Performing Arts Center." Two fifth-grade teachers are piloting a math program called Reflex Feedback, which has games and rewards. "Right now they are supermotivated by that." Fifth-graders also have completed a Get Real about Tobacco program.

• North Dearborn Elementary School staff "appreciated the time to collaborate during early dismissal days," said principal Jeff Bond. "It was time well spent." Employees met within grade levels last month, and with SDCSC counterparts Dec. 13. After winning the state football championship, athletes carried their medals and wore their jerseys during the Parade of Champions. "You should see the little guys' faces light up." The procession made younger students "want to be a part of that."

• Bright Elementary School principal Norbert Goessling gave "a huge thanks" to many PTO volunteers for organizing Santa's Shop, an annual toy drive. "This one was spectacular." Over 600 toys were collected, double the usual amount. He reported, "We had a tragic accident in the community this fall." A fifth-grader's back was broken and he is paralyzed. Bracelets were sold to raise money to make his home handicap accessible. "That was a fabulous outpouring of support from the community to help that family." Fifty-five Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes were packed as well.

• Trustees voted to allow ECHS foreign language students to take a trip to Costa Rica in March 2019. "They want to start fundraising for that," the superintendent explained.

• Personnel recommendations were OK’d. New: Bob Konkoly, Karen Janson, Rick Moorman, Shun Kuramado and Julie Ernst, ECHS homebound teachers; Cheryl Barnhorst, Sunman-Dearborn Middle School food and nutrition services manager; Grey Wray, SDMS wrestling coach; Lisa Beccaccio, BES instructional assistant; Tara Rogers, SDMS Drama Club sponsor. Transfers: Lisa Bruegge, SDMS instructional assistant (from ECHS custodian); Caitlin Odar, BES long-term substitute teacher (from BES instructional assistant); Tina Grubbs, ECHS food and nutrition services manager (from SDMS food and nutrition services manager); Resignations: Morgan Bass, BES instructional assistant; Kenneth Bates and Wilbur Disbro, SDCSC mowing employees; Drain Gesell, athletic worker; Jo Ann Black, NDES food and nutrition services associate. Retirement: Kathleen Stenger, SES instructional assistant.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

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