GENEVA — Geneva Area City Schools Superintendent Eric Kujala presented a draft of the district’s strategic plan to the school board at Wednesday’s meeting.
The district started assembling groups to work on the plan last year, and has spent the past several months assembling information from the groups into a comprehensive plan.
The plan is still in draft form and is subject to final approval from the school board, Kujala said.
There are six parts of the plan focusing on communication, curriculum and instruction, culture and climate, facilities, finance and technology.
There are multiple components to each part of the plan, including expanding curriculum, adding a counselor/social worker for the elementary schools and construction of a new athletic complex at Geneva High School.
The plan also identified barriers to completing the goals, recommended actions, a due date and people responsible for the work.
The district also hopes to improve communications with the public about finances, including making the district’s financial communications more easily understood.
A final draft of the plan is expected to be presented to the board at the August meeting, with a vote being held to adopt it.
In other business
• The board passed a resolution allowing Kujala to continue discussions with the Geneva Police Department about a full-time school resource officer in the district.
The Geneva Police Department passed a 4.8 mill levy in May, and one of the four things the department said it would do with the money was bring back a dedicated school resource officer, splitting the cost with the school district.
In previous meetings, the board had expressed concerns about how much say the district would have on the selection of the potential resource officer. At Wednesday’s meeting, Kujala told the board that the police department wanted the district to be very involved in the hiring process.
Board President Richard Arndt voiced concerns for whom the officer would work. Concerns were also raised about the price of the plan. “We have teachers we want to hire, we have classroom instruction we want to create, we want to offer more courses and we’re going to go half and half on funding a brand new police officer for the city of Geneva,” Arndt said.
“What assurances are we going to have that this officer is going to actually be here?” Board member Richard Dana asked. “I’d like some assurances in knowing that this officer is primarily going to be here at the schools and not doing other city business,” he added.
Geneva Area City Schools discontinued their school resource officer program in 2010.
In the worst case scenario, the district will have to pay around $41,500 per year. That is similar to what the district was paying before the position was eliminated in 2010.
“I think the importance of the school resource officer, it’s there, it’s needed,” Treasurer Kevin Lillie said.
The board eventually passed the resolution, and asked Kujala to proceed.
“I think funding and working out a relationship on a school resource officer is probably the easiest part. The harder part, because you’re dealing with people, is finding someone that’s the caliber of (former Geneva school resource officer) Mr. Carroll. The right people have to be involved in hiring the individual that we’re going to put in a police uniform around our children,” Arndt said.
• The board voted to finalize putting the renewal of a .85 mill permanent improvement levy onto the November ballot. The levy is used to purchase equipment that has a five year or more lifespan.
Funds from the levy are generally used to purchase two busses a year, along with funding other projects, Lillie said. The levy would raise around $192,000 per year, Lillie said. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $30 per year.
“Two buses are going to cost roughly $170,000 a year,” Lillie said.
“It’s going to be difficult to continue transportation for any length of time without reliable busses,” Board member Edward Brashear said.