By Blythe Alspaugh
TIPP CITY — A motion to authorize Tipp City Superintendent Mark Stefanik and Kim Hagen to pursue a facilities project for the football stadium bleachers was approved at Monday’s Tipp City Board of Education meeting.
The motion, which passed in a 3-2 vote, also authorizes Stefanik and Hagen to pursue negotiation and approve a contract for demolishing the existing bleachers as needed and leveling the land at a cost not to exceed $29,860; to pursue negotiations and authorize them to approve a contract for the pouring of concrete pads, footers, and other construction items necessary to prepare the site for the installation of bleachers with a cost of such site prep not to exceed $112,000; to pursue negotiations and authorize them to approved a contract for the purchase and installation of bleachers at a cost not to exceed $280,000; to pursue funds from Tipp Pride or in kind donations concerning the same, including potential concrete work; to pursue agreements with the city for a sharing of the cost to the extent possible; and to pursue any and all necessary permits and requisite regulatory approvals concerning the project, with all of the above being contingenent upon requisite permit and regulatory approvals.
Board members Anne Zakkour and Theresa Dunaway voted against the motion. Zakkour felt that it was important to meet with the city to determine who was responsible for maintaining the bleachers, whereas Dunaway said that she would rather the board take their time to make sure they were doing things right and not making any hasty decisions. Both felt that the board hadn’t been given enough time to look at the issue and make a decision.
“It’s time to just take a giant breath and say ‘stop.’ Stop the madness, stop all this, stop the stress,” Dunaway said. “For once, can we fix something correctly and do it right the first time? (…) I would rather take a breath, do it correctly, and figure this out.”
Stefanik emphasized that the reason the push for new bleachers was happening now was due to oncoming supply chain issues, a decision needed to be made if anything was to be done about the bleachers immediately.
“We’re at the point now that, because of supply chain issues and availability, if we don’t act sooner rather than later, we’re not talking about this coming fall. This coming fall will be no bleacher access for the stadium,” Stefanik said.
The school board also approved the proposed schedule change for Tippecanoe Middle School and Tippecanoe High School for the 2022-2023 academic year in a 4-1 vote, with Zakkour voting against the schedule change. The schedule change includes a weekly early release for TMS and THS students every Wednesday, with TMS students being dismissed at 1:30 p.m. and THS students dismissed at 1:40 p.m., giving staff members an hour of common planning time each week on Wednesdays. Additionally, building principals will be able to create a monthly schedule with structured meetings and expectations for staff members during the common planning time.
The schedule change had originally failed at the board’s April meeting, but after hearing from teachers and administrators on why the schedule change would be beneficial, it was approved the second time around at Monday’s meeting.
The following items were also approved at Monday’s meeting:
• A total of $344.91 in grant dollars from the STEM boosters for science lab equipment was unanimously approved;
• The service contract for Fiscal Year 2023 with the Miami County Educational Service Center was unanimously approved;
• The contract with Nexus-New Creations provide Student Mental Health Services for the 2022-2023 school year was unanimously approved;
• A motion to rescind the April 25 approval of the 2023 Tax Budget for the Tipp City Library due to no public hearing being held prior to the approval, was unanimously approved. The public hearing will be held during the June 13 work session meeting with the intent to act on the approval at the June 27 regular board meeting; and,
• A motion to contract services from Frost Brown Todd LLC to facilitate a Title IX investigation process was approved in a 3-2-0 vote, with Dunaway and Simon Patry abstaining.
The next regular meeting of the Tipp City Board of Education will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, June 27.