East Greene board of education meets for the last time

The East Greene board of education went about the business of closing out business at its regular meeting June 18. It was the last meeting for the board as it will dissolve July 1, the effective date of the reorganization with the Jefferson-Scranton district. Two members of the East Greene board, Susan Burkett and Ashley Johnston, will serve on the Greene County school board.

The board approved a motion transferring all property including but not limited to land, buildings, vehicles, supplies and documents to the Greene County Community School District effective July 1, 2014. The Jefferson-Scranton board had passed an identical motion earlier in the evening at its last meeting.

For the next several years, the Grand Junction building will be used as Greene County Intermediate School. The building will house students in grades 4-6 for the coming school year. The gymnasium at the Rippey school will be used for practices and some sub-varsity games. However, a long range facilities committee has already had preliminary discussion about eventually having all the district’s school buildings in Jefferson.

East Greene board member Tim Bardole broached the subject of what would happen to the Grand Junction and Rippey buildings, as well as the football field and softball field in Grand Junction, should the Greene County board decide not to use them. He acknowledged that the East Greene board would have no “say” in the matter, but he requested that the cities of Grand Junction or Rippey be given first right of refusal if the properties were to be sold.

Bardole said the city of Rippey is concerned that a new owner might take out a row of large trees on the school property. “It’s an important windbreak for the city, and if that property got sold and somebody took all those trees out, it’d really change the dynamics of that part of town in the winter,” he said.

“I’d like to show in our minutes that that would be something we’d like to see happen, knowing that if it’s 10 years down the road, nobody on the board now, whether it be administration or board members would be there. At that point it won’t matter one way or another; they’d make a decision. But it just seems appropriate,” Bardole said.

Board president Marc Hoffman agreed that he’d feel more comfortable if a resolution were approved. Superintendent Tim Christensen, who has served as superintendent of both districts this year and will continue as Greene County superintendent, said it would be up to Burkett and Johnston to “carry the torch” to the Greene County board regarding the wishes of the EG board. A motion made by Bardole and seconded by Johnston was approved making a request about any future disposal of property as Bardole suggested.

The board also tried to assure that scholarships provided by local organizations for students in the East Greene district continue to be available to students from that portion of the larger district. Retired teacher Jan Scharingson was appointed as a liaison to the Greene County Schools to assist in overseeing scholarships from the former East Greene School District. The board also passed a motion requesting that Scharingson  be appointed to the Greene County School Foundation board of directors to represent the former East Greene district.

Building and grounds director Shawn DeMoss publicly commended bus drivers Meladee Graven, Jody Fouch and Charles Gunn, and custodians Colleen Sillyman and Brenda Miller. He also thanked the East Greene board. “It hasn’t been an easy job in the last half dozen years. I know you’ve all lost some sleep over whether you’re doing the right thing or whether you should do something different, or whether this is the way we should be going. As a whole, as the community looks forward, they were tough decisions and they had to be made, and I think you did an excellent job in doing so,” DeMoss said.

His comments were met with applause from the eight or so people at the meeting. Former board member Kate Neese  echoed his comments. She said she thinks everyone should serve on the school board for a few years. “It’s a thankless, thankless job,” she said. “That’s why I came tonight. It’s the last East Greene school board meeting. I commend you, too. You guys filled a tough position. Thank you for doing that, and I think it’s a great change. I think everyone has adjusted really well.”

Superintendent  Tim Christensen also thanked the board. “There have been a lot of tough decisions the last five or six years. I think all the decisions you made were made in the best interest of kids and that’s the only thing you can ask. You did a great job,” he said. He added that appreciation plaques have been ordered but have not been delivered, and that the board members will each receive a lifetime pass to Greene County Schools athletic events.

“We appreciate the work that you’ve done for East Greene. We appreciate it and we can’t thank you enough,” Christensen said.

“I think we’re good,” Hoffman said after Christensen’s comments. “I think we adjourn for the last time.” Dave Tipton made the motion and Burkett seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Draft minutes are posted under the Calendar/Agenda tab of GreeneCountyNewsOnline.

Members of the final East Greene board of education are (seated, from left) Marc Hoffman, Susan Burkett and Ashley Johnston; and (standing, from left) Dave Tipton and Tim Bardole.
Members of the final East Greene board of education are (seated, from left) Marc Hoffman, Susan Burkett and Ashley Johnston; and (standing, from left) Dave Tipton and Tim Bardole.
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