Trimble Football Facilities Discussed As Part of School Board Candidate Forum

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GLOUSTER — Concern over funding for Trimble’s proposed new football stadium was the main topic of discussion with school board candidates at a forum held at Trimble High School on Wednesday night.

Candidates and citizens gathered at the League of Women Voters’ event, where school board, village council and township trustee candidates all sat down with constituents in 10 minute intervals. All candidates gave opening statements on why they were running and what their main goals were.

Two school board candidates were present: Norma Arnold and Kevin Coey. The two challengers are longtime Glouster residents and have children in the district. Neither of the two incumbent candidates, Erica North and John Standley, appeared at the forum. There are three seats open.

Mayor Miles Wolf asked both Arnold and Coey about a rumored $500,000 transferred from the district’s levy fund to the general fund in order to benefit the Trimble Athletic Complex Improvement Project. Neither candidate was sure where the money came from.

A phone call to Jared Bunting, Trimble’s district treasurer, revealed the money was not from any levy, but instead from money the district had in its general fund. According to previous Messenger reporting, Trimble saw an increase of 2.4 percent in funding for the fiscal year and 0.7 percent for the following due to the current state budget approved during the summer.

The district isn’t expected to see a deficit in its budget until the 2022 fiscal year. The surplus for 2017 is nearly $1.2 million.

With this significant contribution, $529,400 has now been raised towards the new stadium. The goal is $851,700.

“I have heard all the rumors, but I don’t know the answer,” Arnold said on Wednesday when asked about the figures. “I would love to have an opinion on it, but I don’t know enough to have one. I think you would find most people are like me and it goes back to how our board needs to communicate with the community.”

Coey, who described himself as “kind of a budget person,” highlighted how he helped the Trimble Twp. Waste Water Treatment District board go from what he called a “slippery slope” to now maintaining $50,000 in the black for the past six years.

Coey said buildings needed to come before the stadium and academics needed to come before athletics. A visitor to the forum, Peggy Gatchel, of Glouster, noted however that for some students, athletics is their motivation to come to school and maintain good grades.

Arnold, who has no previous political experience, said her goal if elected was to increase communication from the board to the community, which she says is currently almost non-existent.

“’As a parent’ is probably the reason I’m running,” she said. “What frustrates me the most is this disconnect between the board, the community, the school … you know, our funding comes from the community and I don’t think the board makes the community feel like a part of our school.”

Arnold said she would like to at least start a monthly or quarterly newsletter from the board to help keep parents and community members aware of what was happening at the school.

“Parents have a way of being overlooked at this school, so unless your kids are very active and you’re in school, it’s hard to find a way to be a part of the school,” she said. “I’d like to see a lot more open communication and transparency so the community feels welcome and feels like they can support our schools.”

Kevin Coey currently serves on the Athens Meigs Educational Service Center (ESC) Board of Education, the Tri-County Career Center Board of Education and Trimble Twp. Waste Water Treatment District board. He advocated for better school security, as he believes the current level of safety in Trimble Schools is less than ideal.

“I think Trimble is lagging a little bit in their preparedness for an active shooter,” he said. “Of course, Athens County sheriff’s department has someone who could come in and give ALICE training.”

He noted that Trimble does have a school resource officer. He also advocated for better relationships between the board and teachers, citing his experience on the Tri-County board, where he went and visited every teacher.


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