The Poland Board of Education held its organizational meeting for the new year the evening of Jan. 9 in the library at Poland Seminary High School.
Acting chairperson Dr. Larry Dinopoulos administered the oath of office to new board member James Lavorini, who was elected to the seat in last November's elections, along with Robert Shovlin and Elinor Zedaker, who were both re-elected. They will serve four-year terms of calendar years 2012 through 2016.
The board elected Dr. Dinopoulos as president and Richard Weaver as vice president. Presidential appointments for the year include Lavorini as legislative liaison with the Ohio School Board Association, Shovlin as impartial hearing officer, Zedaker as the board's representative to the Poland Schools Foundation for Excellence and Weaver as student achievement liaison to the OSBA.
Questions arose among board members about the possibility of reducing the $125 fee that is currently paid to board members for their service. Zorn told the board that he had discussed the issue with Alan Wenger, attorney for Poland Schools, who told him that any changes made to the fee structure would only affect new board members taking office at the beginning of next year.
Zorn said that when budget cuts were being implemented last year across the school district, he contacted Wenger about board members' desire to show their solidarity with faculty, staff and administrators at the schools by cutting their fees. After speaking with officials at the OSBA, Zorn says he was told that it was not an option.
Dinopoulos asked for the record to show that board members had inquired about reducing their fees for the following term, which would begin in 2014. Board Treasurer Donald Stanovcak officially wrote it into the minutes of the meeting, including a pledge to revisit the issue. The fee has been set at $125 since 2008.
Board members also debated the proposed venues for this year's upcoming meetings. Lavorini decried the facilities at the Poland Middle School/McKinley Elementary connector, which has hosted meetings in the past, as poorly suited for the purpose, primarily citing acoustic issues.
Dinopoulos suggested utilizing the Poland Township Administration Building for meetings. He said that he has been in contact with township Trustee Robert Lidle, and was told that the building would be available Monday evenings in accordance with the board's scheduled meetings and that usage fees would be waived. He recommended the facility citing its roominess, acoustics, integrated microphones and P.A. system, and general accessibility.
Zedaker disagreed and stressed the value of having meetings in the school buildings. She feels that the meetings give parents a chance to see the facilities, which the board is justly proud of. "It's where we do business, where our children are educated," she said.
Zorn mentioned the option of designating a specifically-purposed board meeting room was considered in the past, but decided that the cost of converting the room to such a purpose would have been cost prohibitive. He concurred with the option of using the township building.
"I'd like to try it for a year," he said.
The measure succeeded, with only Zedaker voting no.