By Matt Clevenger
TROY — Members of the Troy City Schools Board of Education held a moment of silence in honor of longtime art teacher and coach Herb Hartman, during their regularly scheduled meeting held on Monday, Sept. 11, recognizing Hartman’s more than 50-year career with the district.
Hartman passed away on Thursday, Sept. 7, at the age of 82, Board President Sue Borchers said.
“He was a Troy High School graduate, and taught art at Troy High School from 1967 to 1990,” she said. “He was the head cross country coach, as well as boys and girls track and field coach at Try High School. After his retirement, he stayed on as an assistant track coach.”
Hartman was a member of the Trojan Athletic Hall of Fame, the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coach’s Hall of Fame and the Capital University Athletic Hall of Fame.
“His coaching career at Troy spanned more than 50 years,” Borchers said.
Board members also held a moment of silence to honor those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
In other business, board members also heard an update on improvements planned for city-owned softball fields.
“There’s a couple different phases,” Superintendent Chris Piper said. “One is the turf work they’ve done out there this summer. They’re city ball fields, so the city has been working with getting that levelled-up.”
Other planned improvements include a new back-stop, raised seating behind home plate, improved lighting, new bleachers, expansion of the dugout and a new press box.
“They’re ambitious goals, but they presented a plan to the city and they talked about phasing that in over time, so they’re not going after it all at once,” Piper said. “It’s a mixture, typically, between city funds and whatever funds can be raised by different organizations. They’re currently trying to pursue some of those.”
“We provide a little bit of maintenance money for in-season, but it’s very minor,” district Treasurer Jeff Price said. “We are very limited on what we provide, because we do not own the facilities.”
Board members also voted to accept monthly donations of $99,035.01, bringing the district’s total this fiscal year to $100,319.23. Board members also approved an upcoming varsity hockey trip to Parma, and a measure setting the district’s rate for payment-in-lieu of transportation.
“We are required to transport private and charter school students if they are attending a school within a 30-mile radius,” Piper said. “Those times where it’s difficult or impossible for us to do that, we can offer in lieu of transportation.”
“The rate for the 2023-2024 school year is $596.43,” Price said. “That’s set by the state.”
Board members also announced the hiring of Richard Baker as the district’s new facilities and maintenance supervisor.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, board members also heard comments from parent Mark Francis.
“It was brought to my attention recently that there was a teacher that on day one requested the pronouns of a student,” Francis said. “How does the board and administration feel about things like that? I’m not asking for any action, but I am making a statement that these are things I think we should consider when we have youth at vulnerable ages.”
“It seems like it’s a small thing,” he said. “It’s just an inch, but that inch can turn into a mile.”
“Suicide is highest among transgendered youth,” Francis said. “I’m worried about the kids; Never, ever underestimate the power of simple suggestion.”
Francis also discussed a list of transgender-themed books that was recently reviewed by the district.
“I don’t know the books,” he said. “I haven’t done my homework or my research on that, but those are the kinds of things that I think the silent majority is paying attention to, and they’re watching. There’s a pretty big event coming up in November; I think that they are looking for leadership and they want to know which direction our school is going.”
“I think a lot of people just want to make sure that their kids are in a safe environment,” Francis said, “and that they’re here to learn and be educated, and nothing more and nothing less.”
“I agree with what Mr. Francis said,” Board member Levi Fox said. “I don’t know why this is in our schools; I don’t know why we have to go down this route, I don’t know why we have to have these conversations about this.”
“I was very hesitant to want to say anything,” Francis said. “I certainly don’t want to attack a fellow teacher or a part of the community. That’s not my objective, but I definitely think it’s something we should all consider when we’re talking about subjects that maybe are a little bit uncomfortable. They do have outcomes.”