DASD School Board meets, rejects Esports proposal

Reported by Glenn Schuckers

Before going into the agenda for the March 24 regular meeting, the DuBois Area School Board watched a demonstration of the robotics team from the High School. DuBois  robotics has won many awards over the years since it was formed under the direction of faculty advisor Jen Keith. This year the team has won enough competitions to allow its to enter the World Championship competition which be held in Dallas, Texas later the spring.

Following the robotics demonstration, Superintendent Wendy Benton presented  a book that had been written by Learning Support teacher Mr. Tony Monella’s students. Benton read the book which the students had not only written but also  illustrated, “All About Winter Animals.” Each page was a student’s favorite winter animal describing it and telling why it was the student’s favorite winter animal along with a drawing of the animal. 

Deidre Brown addressed the Board during the time sent aside for audience comments. She questioned how  the ESSR. (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds are being used. She said she felt that those funds were not being used to help remediate the losses  that were incurred during the Covid19 pandemic. Benton replied by saying that many teachers have been spending extra time with students outside the regular school day to help any students who need the help and that time has been covered by the ESSR funding which was also been used to purchase band instruments  the purchase of which had been put off for many years. 

During the regular agenda, the issue of establishing an ESport team was discussed having been first brought up at the prior week’s work session. Board members Charlie Watt and Dave Scwab expressed the views that the roughly $33,000 creates an inequity with other academic activities and has not been clearly presented to the Board.

The motion to establish the team and go forward with the expenditure was defeated when board members Watt, Schwab, Dustin Dodd and Gilbert Barker voted no. Since there were only eight members present  (Jeff Mattinger was absent) the vote was tied 4-4, and did not gain the majority  necessary to pass.  Prior to the vote, member Sam Armagost stated his support for the program saying he was “all for it.” 

In other business, the board did vote to approve a Summer Theater Workshop and a Two Week Summer Band instrumental Workshop,  both of which are for Middle School students. Both programs’ costs will not exceed $7,200 and will be paid per out of ESSR funding. 

The Board also accepted the resignations of three veteran educators, Kathleen Ginther, John Wayne, and Brenda Pruziunsky who, added together, had 91 years of experience.

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