The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, May. 22, 2024

Board OKs request, to ponder eclipse day

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

The question of allowing athletic practices or games on two federal holidays was answered during this week’s Lincolnview Local Schools Board of Education.

Athletic Director Greg Leeth requested an exemption for January 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) and February 19 (Presidents’ Day). According to current school policy, if school is not in session during those holidays, practices and/or games are not permitted.

Leeth told the board he inadvertently overlooked those holidays when making out the master 2023-2024 athletic calendar. Junior high boys and girls basketball games are scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Leeth noted if the games are moved, it would have a trickle down effect.

Athletic Director Greg Leeth talks about practices and/or games on two specific holidays. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

“The other school has to have an opening, you have to have an open gym to play in and you have to have officials,” Leeth explained. “My fear right now is if we move those two games, we will not be able to get officials on another day. It’s my mistake, I own this, I scheduled them on January 15.”

Leeth also noted the varsity boys basketball team will likely have a sectional tournament game on February 20, the day after Presidents’ Day and he requested the team be allowed to practice on the holiday.

“This is my personal opinion but I don’t see any difference between these two holidays and Veterans Day and Columbus Day,” Leeth said. “We go to school on those days so we’re permitted to have practices and games. There are schools that go to school on MLK Day and Presidents’ Day…sometimes we have gone on those days, at least Presidents’ Day.”

By a 3-2 vote, the board agreed to the exemption, with Michelle Gorman, Lori Snyder and Eric Germann voting yes, and Mark Zielke and Brad Coil voting against it.

The topic of what to do about school on Eclipse Day, April 8, 2024, was briefly addressed by Superintendent Jeff Snyder.

The eclipse will begin at 1:54 p.m. and will end at 4:27 p.m., with totality lasting about four minutes between those times. Snyder said he’s becoming more concerned with the potential number of people projected to come to Van Wert County to see the rare event and the effects of increased traffic and cell phone usage, especially around the time school normally dismisses for the day.

“Of the schools around us, 3-4 have said they’re going to close, a couple are yet TBAs and another is considering having school and letting people out around one o’clock,” Snyder told the board.

Snyder said there are five options to consider, including early dismissal; staying through the eclipse then dismissing students; swapping eclipse day for Presidents’ Day; no school for students, but a professional development day for teachers, or an e-learning day.

“Every time I hear more information it sounds like the push is to consider not having school, and that might be the best decision,” Snyder said.

More discussion and a possible decision could come at the December board meeting.

Snyder also lauded the recent offering of a gift card dinner to Fairway Grill as part of the annual Veterans Day program. It was organized by teacher Stephanie Renner and 300 gift cards were distributed, with a number of generous sponsors covering the cost. Snyder said the traditional in-school Veterans Day program will return next year.

During her report to the board, Elementary Principal Nita Meyer said parent-teacher conferences were held November 1-2 and went well, and Junior High/High School Principal Brad Mendenhall said eighth graders recently toured Vantage Career Center. He also said the new Lincolnview steel drum band will hold its first ever concert at 6:30 p.m. Monday, November 27, at Lifehouse Church in Van Wert.

The board accepted the resignation of Kristy Ringwald as freshman class advisor and approved Alison Hammons as her replacement. The board also extended the employment of Sherry Shaffer, who had served as interim treasurer, until March 31, 2024.

Board members honored Phil Lape, who served as a custodian for 36 years. He was given a plaque and briefly addressed the board.

The board accepted a donation of $11,670.91 from Lifehouse Church for the needy student fund, and anonymous donations of $500 and $1,000 for the instrumental music program and the athletic department.

The next meeting of the Lincolnview Local Schools Board of Education will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, December 21, in the Neubrecht Lecture Hall.

POSTED: 11/17/23 at 10:29 pm. FILED UNDER: News