Most Recent Union City School Board Meeting
By Jasmine Deserae
Union City — Thursday, April 4th, the Union City School Board assembled for their Committee of the Whole Meeting in the Elementary Large Group Instruction Room.
The meeting began with superintendent, Mr. Bennett, reading a letter from Mr. David Brown. In the letter, Brown addressed his time in the Union City District calling it a “blessing.” He thanked those who impacted his way of teaching. The letter ended with Brown hoping he was a “worthy stewart” to those he had the pleasure of teaching.
The next topic, however, was not as heart warming. The board confronted a complaint from an article in the Corry Journal. In it, the Journal criticized UC’s school board for not posting the agenda prior to their meetings. Although other boards post their agendas, Union City has never made it a priority, but for good reason. As explained by many board members, the details of each meeting are constantly changing up until the gavel bangs in the assembly.
With that in mind, Bennett suggested (if it were to be posted) to label it as a draft; therefore, amendments could still be made. Still, most of the board did not see a reason in changing their ways because the Corry Journal recommended it. No decisions on the matter were made; instead it is tabled for their up-coming meeting.
The meeting took an emotional turn as Mr. Blaine Walp, and educator in the school district, came forward to speak. Walp began by passing out butter to the members saying, “I’m not here to butter you up,” naturally receiving a chuckle from those around him. After explaining the history of farming in his family, hence the butter, Walp’s emotions became very real. He told everyone that he has thoroughly enjoyed working in the Union City School District for the past 28 years. Although his voice started to crack, Walp admitted his retirement from teaching is in his best interest. He will continue to carry his wonderful memories from the years on his next life adventure.
Moving forward, Mrs. Coleman reported that an important change would be made for next year’s incoming freshmen. As of now, UC has allowed any student athlete (in two or more PIAA sports) to be exempt from physical education. This, however, is not allowed; therefore, beginning next school year, athletes will be required to take at least two gym courses.
Next, a brief report was given about the kindergarten sign-ups. At this moment, only 53 kindergartners are enrolled for next school year. To Blakeslee, this number seemed alarmingly low. Bennett agreed, however, explained that the principal, Mr. Shrout, said this is normal. Most families will pour in for registration just a few weeks before school begins again. This statement seemed to bring ease to group.
Another important topic the board discussed came from Stephen Gilbert’s report on the Erie County Technical School. Gilbert told his peers that there are two programs currently at risk — electronics and precision machinery. Both courses did not have the ideal number students. Immediately, a distraught board began to ask questions. The main one being “how can we market the courses better?” Bennett said he is currently working with the technical school on a better presentation, but he can only give so much input.
Typically, the board’s last meeting, or voting meeting, of April would be Thursday the 11th; however, Bennett has asked for at least five board members to meet every week of this month. The superintendent informed the group these added meetings would be short, around five or ten minutes. The purpose is to expedite planning for the upcoming year. Those who can attend agreed to help Bennett. Meetings will continue to take place on Thursdays at 6 PM for the remainder of the month.