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Springfield officials hear passionate pleas about photos

5/16/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

LAKEMORE — Springfield Local School District officials continue to hear emotional requests to move graduating class pictures now hanging in the high school to the new school building when it opens.

Currently, district officials are planning to scan all of the pictures of the graduating classes and have them available for viewing on a computer that will be set up in the new school’s community room, which is accessible to the public through a front door. They could also be accessed online. Officials decided this electronic format would best preserve the aging and deteriorating pictures, and this decision was more cost-effective than reframing them.

In addition, district officials have stated if these pictures were to be hung in the new school, they would be placed in an area that would be closed off to the public during evening and weekend events, making them inaccessible to those who want to view them.

Among those pleading with officials at the May 14 Springfield Board of Education meeting to hang the actual pictures in the new school was Conway Anderson, president of the 50 Plus Club.

“You will make a lot of us very happy [if you hang the pictures],” he said.

He also told the board the club was willing to financially help refurbish the pictures.

Judy Dillon, another Springfield High School alumna, told officials she has 15 family members who have graduated from Springfield High School, and “it means a lot to people who have gone to school here [to see them rehung].”

Kathleen MacDonald, 75, adamantly told school officials, “We want our pictures up. We supported the levy for the new school and you need to support us.”

Dorothy Snyder, a former teacher at the district who has children and grandchildren who have graduated from the high school, said, “If you don’t get it, you are not a Spartan.”

Rod Massey, who has three generations of family members represented in the graduating class pictures, said the pictures would be the “only thing left after the old high school building is torn down.”

“You folks will be met with a growing sentiment to hang these pictures,” he added.

Board members took turns in responding to the comments and refuting claims they did not understand the issue because most of them are not graduates of the high school. Board member Mary Lou Dodson is the only Springfield High School graduate, and board member Bobby Dinkins’ wife is a graduate.

Board President Neal Hess said district officials are “not forgetting history.”

“The way to tell history has changed, and we are telling it in a different manner and in a way that relates to today’s generation,” he said. “The decision to display history in an electronic format is in the best interest of the district.”

Dinkins acknowledged the matter represented a “difficult decision.”

Dodson, who said she has 40 to 50 family members who attended or graduated from Springfield Local Schools, said she is concerned the pictures will not be accessible to the public if they are rehung in the new school.

“I am going to pray about it and will make a good decision [on this],” added board member Cindy Collins.

Board member David Hofer said he believes the district can do both — hang the class pictures and make them available in an electronic format. He pledged $100, which he said would be matched by his employer, to an account to be set up to help pay to refurbish the old pictures.

Other alumni said they would donate to the account.

District officials said they would continue to review the matter.

In other news about the new school, Superintendent William Stauffer reported construction officials and district officials are continuing to review the issue about “bouncy floors” discovered last month on the second level.

Also, the board rejected all bids for the Phase III abatement package and approved awarding the bids and contracts for Package 21 (building demolition of the high school) and Package 20 (Phase II site work, including earth work, asphalt parking lots, concrete sidewalks, grass and landscaping).

Under personnel business, the board approved: the retirement resignations of Curriculum Director Ann Phillips and Guidance Counselor Laura Lach, both effective July 1; the reassignment of Mary Meadows as principal of Roosevelt Elementary beginning in the 2013-14 school year to replace retiring principal Lucy Brown; the resignation of Audio/Visual Director Frank Chenoweth, effective June 30; and the employment of Jolene Reinhart as curriculum director, with a three-year administrative contract, effective in the 2013-14 school year.

In other business, the board approved:

  • a one-month contract with PRN Therapy Services to provide occupational, physical and speech therapy for one month for students in the Extended School Year program;
  • an agreement with Healthcare Process Consulting Inc. to assist in managing the district’s Ohio Medicaid School Program; and
  • Memorandums of Understanding with Stark State College for the purpose of offering online and on-site at the high school dual enrollment courses to students in the next school year.

The board adjourned into executive session twice, including once at the beginning to discuss personnel and again at the end of the meeting, with no action taken.

The next school board meeting is set for June 18 at 6 p.m. at Spring Hill Junior High School, 660 Lessig Ave.

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