Green Mountain school board OKs funds for use of Greven Field, considers merging some teams

By Gloria Dufield
©2015-The Chester Telegraph
Sports seemed to be topic of the moment at the Green Mountain Union High school board meeting on Thursday, April 16 at the high school. It followed an hourlong executive session for a student disciplinary hearing

Brendan McNamara, director of Athletics, Facilities and Transportation, kicked off the meeting by telling the board that the school needed to find another varsity softball field. Continued flooding at the current field, he said, made it irresponsible to put more money into it until they could find a permanent solution.

Green Mountain Union High School Board members, from left, Bruce Parks, Deb Brown and Kelly Kehoe. Photos by Gloria Dufield.

Green Mountain Union High School Board members, from left, Bruce Parks, Deb Brown and Kelly Kehoe. Photos by Gloria Dufield.

McNamara said the Cavendish Recreation Department would allow the GMUHS varsity girls softball team to use Greven Field, off Route 103 just south of Ludlow.  The team would still practice locally, including at Cobleigh Field, he said, adding that Cobleigh would be too costly to upgrade to a home field that would meet state standards.  McNamara said it would cost $5,000 to bring Greven Field up to state standards.  The team would host about seven games this season at the field and signage would be added to the field reflecting it being home to the team.  The board unanimously approved the allocation.

Board member Kelly Kehoe brought up the issue of combining some of the Black River and Green Mountain athletic teams. Two Rivers Supervisory Union Superintendent Bruce Williams stated that he was going to meet with the two school board chairs, athletic directors and principals to look at where this maybe possible. Some felt it would give more students the opportunity to play but would be dependent on the status of each team and teams would only be combined where it made sense. Williams said there was “high interest on both boards” to review this.

Select Board member to address gravel extraction adjacent to school

In other action, Board chair Alison DesLauriers said that Chester Select Board member Arne Jonynas would attend the next school board meeting to explain the Select Board’s plan to purchase of 139 acres, owned by Mike and Amy O’Neil and adjacent to the school. The Select Board hopes to build a water tank on the property to upgrade the town’s water system and harvest gravel to recoup the cost of the purchase. Historically, the school board has opposed blasting and crushing of gravel on the site. An Act 250 commission found against such work and an appeal by the O’Neils was unsuccessful. The Chester Select Board has said it doesn’t intend to allow blasting, but will crush during summer break.

From left, GMUHS Principal Tom Ferenc, GMUHS board chair Alison DeLauriers and Superintendent Bruce Williams.

From left, GMUHS Principal Tom Ferenc, GMUHS board chair Alison DeLauriers and Superintendent Bruce Williams.

Superintendent Williams brought up Limited School Choice, a recommendation from the Innovations in Learning Committee that would affect grades 7 and 8. The supervisory union is reviewing the option with legal counsel but would allow children in K-8 to have limited school choice within the district. School choice for grades 9 to 12 is  available statewide. Williams said that there has been great success at the high school level with limited school choice.

Williams also handed out copies of the proposed policy and procedures for the F26 Restraint and Seclusion policy.  He said the procedures portion had been created under Mary Barton, director of Student Support Services, but that the procedure is not under review. The policy however, is under review, he said. The SU wanted a first read of the policy that evening and a second read and approval at the next board meeting.

Williams also updated the panel on House Bill 361, which includes amendments to education funding, spending and governance throughout the state. He encouraged board members to email their legislators to let them know where they stood on the bill. Williams said there is a contradiction in the bill and it was not clear how the goals that were outlined were going to be achieved. He added that if the legislature passed the bill it would “put school boards in agonizing situations.” The bill has passed the House and is now in the Senate.

Finance director Christopher Adams said that the annual state-mandated school audit  was clean. The audit can be found here. He added that it appears that GMUHS budget will see a surplus at the end of the fiscal year.

The Green Mountain Union High School Board meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the school, 716 VT Rt 103 S. The meetings are also recorded by SAPA-TV  and can be viewed at here. 

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Filed Under: Education NewsFeaturedSports News

About the Author: Gloria Dufield is a Green Mountain Union High School and University of Vermont graduate. She has more than 15 years of experience working in higher education libraries. Her most recent writing includes marketing projects for a Vermont GIS company as well as articles for a weekly publication.

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