BG school camp question unsettled


(Updated at 11:05 a.m. 7-14) Bowling Green parents and PTO leaders aren’t ready to give up on the idea of
sending fifth-graders to camp this fall.
Four of the five elementary parent-teacher organizations have agreed so far to come up with the money
needed to make camp a reality, Angela Austin told Board of Education members at their meeting Tuesday
If the PTOs can get together and fund camp, “is that the only obstacle?” asked Austin, who is PTO
president at Conneaut Elementary.
When she didn’t get a “yes” or “no” answer, she tried again: If she approached the board and said “‘here
is $17,000, can we go?’ What is the answer? If money is the obstacle and we can remove it, what would
your answer be?”
But for Superintendent Hugh Caumartin and the five members of the board, the answer wasn’t as simple as
the question.
Caumartin questioned whether that method of funding the popular camp could continue.
Board President Eric Myers suggested that, given the financial crunch in the district, waiting a year and
having camp in sixth grade — as a couple other county schools do — might be an option.
“This is a very important part of the fifth-grade program,” stated Martha Jewell, PTO president at Crim
This year’s fourth-grades at Crim have raised most of the money to go to camp, and the PTO provides
scholarships to those that haven’t, she explained. “We will all work together as a community so that
this fifth-grade camp is made possible.”
Both Jewell and Austin said had the PTOs known the list of items that could be cut with the failure of
the May ballot issue, they would have been more proactive in gathering support among parents at their
A half-percent income tax issue was defeated in May with two-thirds of those voting opposed to it.
District administrators had made it clear that without passage of the tax, at least $1 million in budget
cuts would need to be made prior to the start of the 2009-10 school year.
Among the cuts announced in June was $17,000 that would have paid teachers and bus drivers to accompany
students to the week-long camp at Heartland Conference Retreat Center.
“The camp is what our fifth-graders love. They look forward to it from kindergarten on,” said Jill
Patton, who has a fifth-grader this fall at Kenwood. “We will do what needs to be done” so parents and
teachers don’t have to explain to fifth-graders why their grade can’t go to camp but future grades
Myers said one possibility was shifting camp to the sixth grades, so this year’s students could still go
using the funds raised, just a year later.
After the meeting, Myers along with board members Steve Cernkovich and Ellen Scholl, merely said the
board would have to discuss its options should the PTOs raise enough money to cover the district’s share
of camp costs.
Austin said after the meeting she didn’t care whether students went to camp as fifth- or sixth-graders,
parents were wondering what will happen to the money already raised.
That money is earmarked for camp and can’t be used by the district to cover other expenses, said Rhonda
Melchi, district treasurer.
Caumartin said this morning that there were several options for the money already collected by students:
the district could reimburse parents, use the money for some other activity, or carry the money forward
and apply it to a future camp.
“The money won’t be lost and the kids will get value out of it one way or another,” he said.
Also during the meeting, the board approved the resignation of junior high Principal Lee Vincent, who has
accepted a post at Fairfield City Schools, north of Cincinnati. The resignation is effective Aug. 1 —
one week before teachers begin unpacking boxes in their classrooms at the new middle school.
Caumartin said administrators had known Vincent, who came to Bowling Green from the Cincinnati area, had
hoped to someday return to southern Ohio.
As for the new middle school, it is on schedule and will be ready for occupancy in three weeks.
The furniture will be arriving this week, and crews are going through the punch lists of final details,
explained Ron Dulay, with Rudolph/Libbe. The auditorium and lobby, however, will take another six weeks
to complete.
The board approved $53,089.94 in change orders — about $22,000 of which was to install fire extinguishing
systems in each of range hoods in the Life Skills classrooms. Plans for the systems had been approved,
but didn’t pass recent inspections by the state fire marshal and city fire department, Dulay said. There
are sufficient contingency dollars to cover the additional costs, he added.
Also at the meeting, the board:
• Learned from Caumartin that a new telephone system at Central Administration has resulted in some
incoming calls going unanswered. It’s not because there is no one in the building, the calls are “going
out to space somewhere,” he said.
• Hired Melissa Torongo and Jana Metzger as part-time kindergarten teachers for Ridge and Milton
elementaries, respectively; Adam Landry as elementary and high school band teacher as well as
eighth-grade choral instructor; and Lindsey West as fifth-grade teacher at Ridge.
• Accepted the retirement of Kris Fauver, who is the special needs coordinator, and the resignation of
Jill Phlipot, Conneaut fourth-grade teacher, who is moving from the district.
• Increased the base pay $2,000 for Crim Principal Martha Fether under an agreement to pay administrators
who earn their doctorate degree.

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