School Board seat will remain vacant until April election

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The School Board seat held by the late Mark Rhyan will remain vacant until voters have a chance to fill it at the April 1 election.

The School Board, meeting as a Committee of the Whole Monday, reached that consensus.

Rhyan, who served as board president during his nearly two full terms on the board, died Dec. 25. His position representing Area A (city of Plymouth) was set to be on the ballot in the April general election.

With only three more board meetings before the election, board members decided it would be better to leave the seat vacant until after the election.

Two candidates – Jamie Klemme-Gambrell and Camisha Miller – filed to run for the seat.

Board member Bob Travis was chosen to take Rhyan’s spot on the board of directors for the Plymouth Education Foundation.

Board members heard a report from District Superintendent Carrie Dassow on security at the district’s various schools.

“Parkview and Fairview are not up to the same security standards as the high school, the middle school and Horizon (Elementary),” Dassow said in summarizing the conclusions of district staff, local police and a security consultant.

“We’ve been working with all our principals to make sure our emergency response plans are up to date,” Dassow ensured the board.

She said while Horizon, Riverview and the high school all have security card systems for entering the buildings, Parkview and Fairview still have keyed doors.

While lost security cards can be deactivated and removed from the system, a lost key means locks must be rekeyed and new keys issued to all those authorized to have them, Dassow explained.

“The very first thing we’d like to do is to get Parkview and Fairview up-to-date with a buzz-in monitoring system,” Dassow said.

But that would cost an estimated $15,000, and “we don’t have a budget we can just add $15,000 to,” Dassow continued.

Board member Richard York expressed reluctance to take that much money away from other district expenses. “I don’t see it making (the school) safer and there are better things we can spend the money on,” he stated.

Board member Sally Isely took the opposite view, saying she was in favor of the idea.

“This is not something we have to decide right away,” Dassow conceded.

Manager of Business Services Jon Miller reported on a recent state Department of Transportation presentation on an intersection improvement project at State 67 and County PP planned for 2015.

“To do this they need to buy property we (the district) own,” at the intersection, Miller told the board. He said it looks like the DOT will need to buy one-half to three-quarters of an acre of the former Davis property on the southwest corner of the intersection.

The DOT plans to install turning lanes at the intersection and remove vision barriers, such as a small rise near the road on the district property.

The district parcel is the largest piece of land the DOT would have to buy for the project, Miller said, “but we have heard nothing since the meeting from them.

“If we get 10 grand out of this, I would be shocked,” Miller told the board.

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