LORDSTOWN Mayor has advice for school board

The mayor pointed to long executive sessions and a need for more communication as concerns.
LORDSTOWN -- The village mayor won't run for a seat on the school board but had some words of advice for board members.
Mayor Arno A. Hill had filed to run for a two-year unexpired term on the board against Gary Koch, who was appointed in July when J.C. Gibson resigned.
At a school board meeting Wednesday, Hill announced that he had withdrawn after talking to Koch but that he still has some concerns.
Hill pointed to the board's voting to enter executive sessions at many meetings shortly after they begin.
"You go into executive session and leave the public sitting out here for hours on end, leaving the public wondering when you're going to come out," he said.
Hill also mentioned the "revolving door for superintendents, treasurers, administrators and even board members." Board members should communicate with Superintendent Ray Getz and one another before a meeting if they have questions, he said.
"Don't do your homework here on the floor," the mayor said.
Board members also need to learn where their duties and responsibilities and those of the superintendent and treasurer stop and start, he said.
"This is a policy-making board," Hill said. "You're not administrators."
Response: Board President Becky Albrecht said given the scope of Hill's concerns, it's unfortunate he decided not to run.
Hill has attended only a "handful" of school board meetings and those were meetings on issues involving "spectacular headlines," Albrecht said.
"You, like so many other people, consider yourself an authority and haven't sat here firsthand," she said. "We can sit here and throw stones and be negative, but I hope you and a lot of other village residents come to our meetings and hear things firsthand rather than secondhand."
Resolution rescinded: Board members also rescinded a resolution passed last month creating a command teacher at the elementary school.
As a cost-cutting measure, the district eliminated the elementary school principal post earlier this year, projecting an estimated $63,430 savings.
The command teacher would have managed the building and responded to staff and student concerns when Getz couldn't and would have been paid $4,500 this year in addition to his or her teacher's salary. Getz decided to handle the duties himself.

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