SHARPSVILLE Board balks at paying for sod

The board tabled payment of two bills to a landscape firm that worked on the field.
SHARPSVILLE, Pa. --The Sharpsville Area School Board decided it isn't ready to pay the bill for some improvements to the high school football field that it didn't approve.
The board voted 7-2 to table a $9,999 change order payment to Scott Lawn Yard of Sanborn, N.Y., saying it wants more information on the expense, said Dr. Derry Stufft, superintendent.
Board President Robert Timmerman and Vice President Robert Donatelli cast the dissenting votes, he said.
The debate, which has drawn a good deal of attention from the public, involves a decision made by Timmerman and Donatelli to approve a change order for work on the field without first contacting a majority of the board.
"It's now become personal," Timmerman said Tuesday.
What happened: The board awarded a $17,900 contract to Scott Lawn Yard in May to grade and reseed the field, but Timmerman said he learned in late June that the new grass wouldn't have time to grow before the football season started.
He said he was told the field would become just dirt and mud after the first game.
Stufft was out of town at the time and Timmerman said he and Donatelli decided the school district should accept an alternate proposal in the Scott bid that called for new sod to be placed on the field.
Timmerman took responsibility for the change.
"I'm president of the board and the buck stops here. Some decisions had to be made and I made them. I apologized to the board and I apologized to the public," he said.
If the sod work hadn't been done, the district would have lost use of the field for this season and that would have cost more than $20,000 in gate receipts as well as more than $20,000 earned by booster and other groups that run concessions and sell souvenirs at home games, Timmerman said.
The board also declined payment on a second bill from Scott for $6,300 that also went into the field work, but Timmerman said that money is to come from a budget line item already designated for field maintenance and isn't an unanticipated expense.
Although some members of the public have been critical of Timmerman's actions, others have praised the work done on the field, he said.

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