VANDALIA — The Vandalia-Butler Board of Education discussed a wide array of topics during its work session Monday evening held at Butler High School.
The meeting also was the first with Superintendent Rob O’Leary who assumed the top position in the district following the retirement of Bradley Neavin.
During his report, O’Leary noted that the Board offices had successfully relocated from their former location at 306 S. Dixie Drive to the former Dayton Metro Library building at 500 S. Dixie Drive, adjacent to Butler High School.
The district will relinquish control of the old building by Friday of this week and the library system has until October to demolish it per its contract with the school district. The site will then be converted to green space.
“That (move) has gone incredibly well,” said O’Leary. “Hats off to (Facilities Services Manager) Marcus O’Brien and (Treasurer) Eric (Beavers). I think Eric’s next profession may be as a designer or professional mover because he’s done a great job orchestrating a lot of the moves inside the office. It looks great, the team was very, very helpful and helped each other out when they were waiting for their boxes to arrive.”
O’Leary said that as of Monday morning, the district was “business as usual” in the board offices with visitors, enrollments, employees, and other normal business. He reported that the office is not completely furnished yet but should be fully furnished and functional by the end of the month.
He also noted that he anticipates that the Board of Education meeting scheduled for August 22 should be able to be held in the new offices.
“It’s a beautiful office, tasteful, and definitely within budget,” said O’Leary. “It’s not the Taj Mahal, but compared to our old digs, it feels like the Taj Mahal. We are very excited about it and believe its something the community will be proud of.”
O’Leary also updated the board on implementation of the district’s strategic plan Connecting Aviators – Our Children, Our Community 2021 which was approved in April.
He presented the board with a document of indicators and measurements for the strategic plan and noted that of the 42 action items included in the plan, 34 will begin implementation this year.
“We spent considerable time during our administrative retreat talking about the strategic plan and talking about what these performance indicators mean, and talking about how we will document completion and meeting these goals,” O’Leary said. “I will say there are a few that are very challenging but we are up to the challenge and we will work hard to meet those goals.”
Other discussion topics included the Murlin Heights building. O’Leary explained that the property was worth more with the building demolished but that demolition could be costly due in part to asbestos abatement. Members of the board indicated it would be wise to at a minimum get cost estimates on demolition so an informed decision could be made about what to do with the property.
“No matter what direction we go, the building has to be torn down either way,” said Board Member Rodney Washburn. “I think it would probably be a good directive to start getting some numbers on getting that building taken care of.”
“I like Mr. Washburn’s suggestion that we proceed with the demolition of the building,” said Board Member Mary Kilsheimer. “Either way that makes it more advantageous to get it on the market either selling it outright as land or a lease option.”
“We can put it out for bid and see where the numbers come in,” said Treasurer Eric Beavers. “Then you can make a board decision.”
“We still have plenty of acreage on the Smith (Middle School) site if we were to ever need another facility,” said Kilsheimer. “We’ve talked about this previously. That’s still in the township so another school in the township.”
“Smith and Demmitt (Elementary) have land to expand on,” said O’Leary.
One option under consideration, a land lease, did not appear to gain much traction with the board.
“I think we could be opening a Pandora’s box that could raise a lot of other concerns,” said Board Member George Moorman. “With land leases come income, with income comes other challenges and as a non-profit I’d rather see us concentrate more on educating our kids.
“Being a landlord could be a headache,” added Kilsheimer.
In other action, the board approved transportation routes for the 2017-18 school year. O’Leary noted that the routes are essentially the same as last year and that the board’s approval would allow the district to notify parents how to get their child’s bus stop and times for pick up and drop off.
The Vandalia-Butler Board of Education will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, August 22 at 6 p.m. That meeting is currently scheduled to be held in the Butler High School lecture hall but may be moved to the board office based on comments by Superintendent O’Leary during Monday’s meeting.
The Vandalia Drummer News will announce any change in location.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.