U-CF School Board honors Hostetler, hears concerns about athletic campus
● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
The June 18 meeting of the
Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board was taken up by repeated public
complaints about student discipline and the district's discipline
policy, but several other topics were addressed as well.
The board and audience honored Rick Hostetler, who has served as the Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds since 1993. He is retiring after more than 26 years in the district.
During public comment at the beginning of the meeting, several residents objected to the proposed renovations and additions to the athletic fields at Unionville High School that were announced on June 11. At that prior meeting, K&W Engineering presented an outline of what they are proposing, including a fieldhouse, expanded parking and realignment of several fields.
Resident Mark Stookey told the board, “I suggest you work with K&W to re-examine what is really needed, as compared to what we have this evening, which is a wish list.” Stookey cited a survey of residents that showed more than half of the respondents thought the parking and traffic flow at the high school were safe and efficient, and that facilities were adequate. “Yet we have a plan in front of us that will call for something like $10 million in improvements for parking, circulation and athletic facilities,” Stookey said. “The consultant has a real conflict of interest. What is their incentive? To come up with as big a project as they can come up with. The board needs to put the brakes on this.”
Former School Board member Holly Manzone said she agreed with Stookey's comments. “This district can do a lot. The taxpayers here are generally very supportive,” she said. “I too looked at the documents of the K&W presentation, and it was shocking to me that you want to spend $10 million on new fields and things when it seems to me there was only one field that was in a 'red zone,' and one marginal one. It seems like a great excess. We don't need more playing fields. It says so in your own survey.”
The board members maintain that no decisions have been made, and that the upgrades to the athletic fields and facilities – if they are made at all – will be thoroughly evaluated. The plan would be rolled out over the next decade or more, and aspects of the proposal can be deleted if necessary.
A proposal to create a Dean of Students position at the high school was approved 8-1, with board member Carolyn Daniels voting no. She said she felt more studies should have been done to evaluate the need for the position. Board member Gregg Lindner said he wanted to be sure the position would be to support the students, not just apply discipline.
Board member Tom Day read the job description, saying, “The Dean of Students will work closely with Unionville High School staff, students and parents to build and maintain a positive, safe school climate. The Dean's primary responsibility will be to focus on supporting the growth, wellness and health of Unionville High School students.”
More information about district activities is available at www.ucfsd.org.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.