Niles BOE hears grounds complaints

NILES – The Niles Board of Education heard from some who are concerned about the upkeep of the school grounds during Thursday night’s meeting.

Debbie Simini, president of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, as well as Bowman Street resident and Niles Schools administrative assistant Linda Huber both addressed the board, stating that the work – grass cutting, edging, painting, cleaning and other upkeep of multiple buildings and properties – is just too much for one person to handle.

“Our groundskeeper is a very hard worker, (but) it’s hard for him to actually get one job fully completed. The grass and weeds are growing very fast,” Simini said, and asked the board to consider hiring an assistant maintenance custodian.

Huber said she has seen a decrease in the number of custodians from last year due to layoffs and told the board to “look in the mirror” because they are the only ones who can fix the problem.

“(It’s) way too much for any one person to do in one week. The problems … can only be solved with additional people,” she said.

Board president Tony Perrone said the need is there, and that the board will take their suggestions into consideration and discuss the situation.

During the meeting the board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Trumbull Community Action Program to provide six preschool classrooms for rent next year. The district will receive more than $40,000 in revenue under the agreement, superintendent Frank Danso reported.

The Athletic Council reported more handicap spaces will be available closer to the front of the stadium this year. Also, new high school banners are being considered for purchase to recognize past athletic accomplishments. The council is looking at a small grant proposal so the district doesn’t have to pay for the entire project, Perrone said.

In other action, the board:

l Approved McKinley High School math teacher Mark Novotny’s resignation, effective June 18;

l Approved the retirement resignations of educational assistant Patricia Smith and bus driver Rebecca Puckett;

l Approved the transfer of Larry Harkleroad from assistant custodian at Niles McKinley to head custodian at Niles Primary at $36,858;

l Set a special meeting date for 7:30 a.m. June 30 at the administration building.