The Dallas School Board will reconsider its ban on using district property for commercial use in the next month after an educational fundraising group proposed installing a business-sponsored digital sign near the access way off Hildebrandt Road.
Chad Lojewski, of the Dallas Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for district projects, approached the board on Monday, requesting use of a plot of land to build the approximately $40,000 sign.
Lojewski said the sign, which would feature information about academics, extracurricular activities and athletics, would be donated to the district and both the foundation and district would work together on messages featured on the sign.
The foundation would then solicit businesses to sponsor the sign, which would provide a continual source of revenue for the foundation to fund more projects within the district.
"I know there was discussion last week about quote-unquote advertising and I want to take that out of the room tonight," said Lojewski.
Lojewski compared the sign to an athletic team booster club program, in which advertisements are used for name recognition and not targeted to specific products.
"I want to emphasize that this becomes a digital program book," he said.
He also provided the board with a complete proposal and a list of parameters for advertising on the sign. The parameters stated the district had a right to reject any potential sponsor, though any sponsor deemed inappropriate "would not be approached."
Some board members asked whether the sign would detract advertisers from supporting sports booster clubs. Lojewski said the idea of the foundation is to work with those teams to fund their needs.
He said property owners of land where the current district sign along State Route 309 is located did not want businesses featured on the sign. Lojewski asked the district to allow the sign to be placed on district property.
Board member Maureen Matiska still wasn't sure about the proposal because she felt "some things cheapen the school."
Solicitor Benjamin Jones III told Lojewski the district policy would need to be updated to include the sign, as the district currently prohibits commercial use of its property.
The board will need to approve two readings of the updated policy before it can move forward with the sign project.
Dallas Gridiron Club videographer Art Daube told the board that the football field in Mountaineer Stadium is "unsafe" for players to practice.
He said there are patches of rock on the field and coaches had to move play "10 to 20 yards" away from unfit areas.
Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Mark Kraynack said the players should not be practicing on that field at all.
He said the football team has two practice fields, and the stadium field should be used for games only. Kraynack added that once the players are moved to another field, he believes he can get the stadium field to "what it used to be" by the time the first football game is played.
In other news, the board…
• Approved salaries and step levels for all district teachers.
• Appointed Ashlee Berry as a contracted physical therapist at an hourly rate of $55 for in-house physical therapy and $32 for homebound physical therapy.
• Approved the following prices for school lunches in the 2012-13 school year: elementary class A lunch, $1.85; middle school class A lunch, $1.95; senior high class A lunch, $2.10; and reduced price lunch, $.040.
• Approved the following department chairpersons for the 2012-13 with a stipend of $499 and an additional $60 per person in their respective departments: Clair Morris, art department; Anne Butler, English department; Audrey Ide, family and consumer sciences department; Jennifer Lamoreaux, foreign language department; Raelene Daring, guidance department; Laura O'Malley, health services department; Sandy Sprau, mathematics department; Susan Koziel, science department; Tom Gilroy, social science department; Diana Alichnie, technology education department; Ruth Skammer, wellness department; Robin Moore, middle school science department; Kathleen Dolan, middle school mathematics department; Cynthia Finarelli, middle school social studies department; and Firouzeh Razavi, middle school language arts department.
• Approved the following elementary subject coordinators with a stipend of $500 for the 2012-13 school year: Nicole Valkenburg, science; Kerry Speziale, mathematics; Kristi Taylor, social studies; and Caitlin Cooper, language arts.
• Approved the following part-time employees for the 2012-13 school year: Meredith Ohl, high school social studies teacher at rate of $28.35 per hour for four hours a day and as in-school suspension monitor for $52.60 per half day; Christine Edmondson, Wycallis Elementary art teacher at a rate of $28.35 per hour for 3.5 hours per day; Maurissa Farrell, high school Spanish teacher at a rate of $28.35 per hour for 3.5 hours per day; Julie Schaub, Dallas Elementary reading teacher at a rate of 33.95 per hour for 3 hours per day; and Joyce Hourigan, in-school suspension monitor at a rate of $52.60 per half day.
• Approved the following leaves of absence for the 2012-13 school year: Amy Linnen, director of special education, Sept. 16 though Jan. 11; Maria Hosey, Dallas Elementary teacher, Aug. 27 through Jan. 17; and Rachel Hayes, Wycallis Elementary teacher, Aug. 30 through Oct. 31.
• Approved the following resignations: Diane Kelly, Wycallis Elementary classroom aide; Bonnie Weinstein, elementary library aide; Lois Noble, elementary library aide; and Deborah Chielli, middle school special education aide.
• Appointed the following aides for the 2012-13 school year: Michelle Blamire, Wycallis classroom aide at an hourly rate of $8.10; Nancy Valkenburg, Wycallis classroom aide at an hourly rate of $8.10; and Maria Rakowski, middle school special education aide at an hourly rate of $8.10.
• Accepted the resignation of Mike Coombs, district custodian.
• Appointed the following coaches: Ashley Cardamone, assistant girls soccer coach with a stipend of $2,433; Ricky Bartolini, assistant boys soccer coach with a stipend of $2,433; Joe Pugliese, head girls tennis coach with a stipend of $2,217; and Doug Mucha, volunteer assistant football coach.
• The next Dallas School Board work session will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10 and the next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in the administration building.