ST. PARIS – The Graham Local School Board held a moment of silence at the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting for a longtime member of the Graham community.
Graham Director of Operations Don Burley informed the board that longtime bus driver Pat Anderson died on Wednesday.
“(Anderson) was a dedicated bus driver, employee for over 37 years worked for Graham Local Schools transporting students across this district more miles than maybe we could ever count and caring for more kids than we could ever count,” Burley said.
He asked those in attendance for a moment of silence to honor Anderson’s life and long service to the school district.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Jon Comer, Graham Education Association (GEA) teacher and president, expressed concern about the potential outsourcing of food services.
“GEA is disappointed that the district is considering the outsourcing of the food services program via the request for proposals on the board website,” Comer said. “GEA would like to be very clear in that as a professional organization we adamantly oppose the privatization of the district’s food service operations or any other classified personnel in the district.
“Food service staff members, they’re our friends, our neighbors, they’re our valued co-workers. Outsourcing can introduce operational issues like fees for anyone, anytime anyone wants to use kitchen facilities. Other issues such as banning of any school fundraisers that may involve food – think of how many of our organizations that could affect, some of the dinners we do.”
No response was given during Wednesday’s meeting, but board president Ryan Pine sent the Daily Citizen a response to the comments on Thursday.
“The board is initiating the request for proposal process so that we can collect the necessary information to make an informed decision about our food service programs,” Pine stated. “Our food service program has been able to support itself to date, but rising costs are making that more and more difficult to sustain.
“We do not want to be in a situation, in the future, where we would have to transfer money from the general fund to cover losses from the food services fund. The RFP does not obligate us to anything. If there are more affordable ways to provide these services, it is our duty to explore those options and that is all we are doing at this point.”
The Graham High School Wrestling team was in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting.
Graham Director of Student Services Emily Smith said the team was being honored following their Division II State Dual Wrestling Title.
“Congratulations, we are so proud of you and it’s absolutely amazing what you’ve accomplished, not only this year but in previous years and in what’s to come,” Smith said to the team. “Thank you for what you do in representing all of us so well.”
Graham Wrestling Head Coach Travis McIntosh thanked the board for their support.
“Obviously it wasn’t too long ago when I was standing in front of all of you guys when I first got the job so I appreciate the trust, I appreciate the support,” McIntosh said. He commended the effort and humility of the team and spoke about upcoming competition the team will have.
In other action:
•Graham Treasurer Judy Geers said most of the donations the district received included donations to the Youth in Government program, a $2,000 donation for the wrestling program from an anonymous donor and a $97 donation for the middle school cafeteria from an anonymous donor.
•The next school board meeting will be held on March 6.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777.