Batavia resident concerned about school buildings

By Kristin Rover
Sun staff

A Batavia resident expressed his concern about the new school buildings that are being planned for Batavia Local School District during the Oct. 21 board meeting.

“I have children in the district and live in the district,” Dale Conner said. “Over the last couple months I thought about whether or not to address the board.”

Conner said he decided to address the board and read board members the mission statement for Batavia Local School District, which highlights educating and preparing students for society.

“That is what I want for my kids,” Conner said about the statement.

Conner said a major item of business on the board’s June meeting agenda, however, mentioned building a new administrative office building near the new elementary school they are planning.

“Is this the time?” Conner asked board members.

Conner said they just passed their building levy a year ago that will fund the new elementary school, and he said the levy barely passed.

He said now board members are planning for the new school but they are also creating a wish list for the future that include other buildings.

“I think we got a very vague update on the website,” Conner said about the future plans. “I don’t see a way to contribute feedback.”

Conner said he is not sure how much an administrative building would cost the district but he asked the board members to really think about if it is the right time.

“I think it is reckless to operate this way,” Conner said.

Board of Education member Chris Huser was the first to comment after Conner spoke.

“To think we wouldn’t consider those things is preposterous,” Huser said.

Huser said they are looking into the costs of the different options and are absolutely thinking about the children in the district while making their decisions.

Board of Education member Michael Enriquez said board members only gave Treasurer Michael Enriquez an OK to explore the cost of an administrative building.

Enriquez said they are exploring the cost of a new building to see if it would be cheaper than the rent they are currently paying.

“We are not committed,” Enriquez said about building a new building.

He said the other buildings they had put on their wish list for the future, including a middle school, was for a master plan that they were required to create for the new elementary building and property.

“The whole thing was a master plan,” Enriquez said.

Board member Mark Ewing said Treasurer Michael Ashmore has already begun exploring costs for the administrative building.

“The costs aren’t coming back as neutralized as we had hoped,” Ewing said.

Board members apologized for not being clear about the new building plans.

“Your point is well taken,” board member Karen Royer told Conner. “If there is something we aren’t communicating well, let us know. We want to be transparent.”