By Paul Chasko
After the tumultuous meetings of the past half-year or so, the April Ringgold School Board Meeting was relatively short and quiet. Attendance was down a bit from previous meetings as well.
Although last month it was announced that four options for Ringgold facilities use were under discussion, no new plan for facilities use was discussed or announced. No action was taken to set a closing date for the Finley Middle School, but Board President Chuck Smith did state that the Finley Middle School will remain open for the entire 2012/2013 school year. A list of maintenance items for the Finley Middle School is being developed by the Ringgold Architect/Engineer and Ringgold’s facilities maintenance personnel for work over the summer months. New members of the school board are taking informational tours of the former Donora and Monongahela Elementary school building (DEC and MEC) so they have a better appreciation of the condition of the two closed buildings. Smith still seems to favor keeping the two buildings in a condition where they could be reopened if a serious problem surfaced in any of the other Ringgold buildings. An attendee received no clear answer to a question regarding the cost of maintaining DEC and MEC—possibly enough maintenance to halt further deterioration, with water damage seeming to be a major concern.
Ringgold’s financial consultant presented options to the board related to a 2008 bond issue that could be sold prior to the Aug 1, 2013 call date. Due to favorable bond market conditions, Ringgold could realize a significant advantage from the sale of the bonds. The amount depends on interest rates at the time of sale. The board will review the options and set conditions that will trigger “selling actions” by the financial consultant at the May meeting.
The Union Roads United Methodist Church located next to the Ringgold Elementary School North in Gastonville has informed the school district that it is closing its doors. The church has offered to donate its buildings and property to the school district. The board passed a motion to contact church officials notifying them that the board is interested in acquiring the property and to begin the process of acquisition by having the required documents drawn up to be presented to the board for approval.
The board also approved acceptance of a $70,000 donation from the Bernhard-Bidzila family, which is to be placed in a Bernhard-Bidzila Family Scholarship Trust Fund for the purpose of accepting funds donated for the benefit of Ringgold seniors who have excelled in helping the community. This may have triggered another motion to establish the “Ringgold Foundation” for the purpose of accepting and managing funds donated to the Ringgold School District. The foundation board will consist of five members: the superintendent, a principal, a Ringgold School Board Member, and two individuals from the community. The motion also authorizes the board auditors Cypher & Cypher to perform the work necessary to set up the foundation and approved an expenditure of not more than $1,000 to cover the necessary filing fees required.
A motion passed scheduling a special meeting on April 25 at 7 pm for the purpose of electing and approving a new superintendent for the Ringgold School District. The board secretary was directed to mail each board member a notice of time, place and purpose of this meeting.