Salisbury Press

Thursday, February 20, 2020


Wednesday, October 9, 2019 by JAKE MELUSKEY Special to The Press in Local News

Athletic event admission

Salisbury Athletic Director Monica Deeb and Salisbury High School Principal Heather Morningstar presented an idea aiming to increase attendance at sporting events at the Oct. 2 operations committee meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Morningstar told Deeb ticket prices at her alma mater were free for any member of the community, at any age, to attend athletic events. She thought this was a great idea and could be implemented at Salisbury. Deeb agreed.

The idea is to encourage as much attendance as possible in order to draw bigger crowds for the student athletes.

“The athletic department would like to see growth … and more community connection with more fans,” Deeb said.

Morningstar sees this as Salisbury offering to help burdened parents and those who can’t attend games because of cost, a friendlier and cost-free environment.

Deeb and Morningstar did not want to go as far as to offer free admission to everyone, but thought that allowing the students in for free would be a good start.

Operations Director George Gatanis asked if veterans should also be included. The consensus was a resounding yes.

“We need to consider the families that don’t have the money to give to a child to attend an extracurricular event,” Morningstar said.

School Board Member Joe Gnall said he liked the idea and saw this as an investment in good will for the long term, creating an environment of inclusion and welcoming. Plus, with more attendance, that means more money to concessions, raffle tickets and fundraisers.

The estimated cost of free attendance was discussed. Approximately $5,000 to $6,000 will be needed to implement this program.

Questions on whether this strategy to encourage attendance has worked in the past were asked by the board members. Deeb said the athletic department had experimented with free admission to youth sports, as well as to select varsity basketball games. The response was enormous to these events, with Deeb saying student leaders rallied students and the community much more to these free events.

After little debate, the idea was approved and a resolution was retroactively put in place during the meeting for the Oct. 4 Homecoming game to qualify.

Morningstar had another short presentation as well. She requested a checking account be opened for the school’s altruistic club: G.I.V.E., or Get Involved, Value Everyone. This account is to help keep track of money that will be used to promote fundraising and charitable activities.

She said this is an account to merely hold the funds and use the funds for community needs. It was quickly approved.

In other business, a decision on the warranty length of the roof replacement was made during the meeting. Director of Facilities William Brackett announced a thermal inspection showed less than 1 percent of the roof’s insulation was considered damaged; the roof should hold strong for the upcoming years, although it will be out of warranty.

The operations committee decided to go with the 20-year warranty, which will be a simple three-part coating. The cost of the project is estimated at $390,000. This will give the roof an additional 20 years under warranty, while also providing an extra layer of protection. Plus, the roofing company will return to fix any issues.

Next, was the decision on whether to install new lighting at the high school stadium. Brackett presented the idea for new LED lighting at the stadium at a cost of approximately $250,000. After the short presentation, the committee was split and a little unsure of whether to push the project through.

That was until Board President Frank Frankenfield announced he did not support the idea. He expressed, from his experience, LED lighting is constantly becoming more innovative and cost effective on an almost yearly basis. He thought the board should wait on this topic and presented the idea that costs may lower in the next few years.

“This should be reconsidered in a few years as innovations arise and LEDs get better,” Frankenfield said.

Several board members were supportive of this idea after he raised these issues and the committee made the decision to postpone the stadium lighting, with the idea to pursue the project again in a few years.

Following this, Brackett presented a solution for the Spotted Lanternfly problem around the high school stadium. At a cost of $11,500, Bracket found a company to poison the Spotted Lanternfly’s favorite tree and then have the trees cut down.

There was a resounding no from the operations committee. Gatanis said he was not comfortable with the fact there was no real solution and the “expected” solution was speculative.

Brackett agreed with the decision and will continue to look for a solution. It was said since more money seems to be going into research on how to control this species, a solution might not be out there quite yet.

Salisbury Police Chief Kevin Soberick and Salisbury Middle School Resource Officer Jason Laky were also in attendance. Laky proposed an idea to use Salisbury Middle School as a designated facility for students under discipline by the Community Justice Panel.

This is a program run by Project Impact and is unique, as it provides law enforcement the ability to deal with first time offender juveniles. It gives the police and school resource officers better options for disciplining juveniles who are making mistakes at a young age.

Instead of sending them to court, the police are able to send them to the Community Justice Panel.

The panel talks with the students and learns about them and their families. If the juveniles are accepted into the program, the students will be assigned to community service work. This gives the ability for the school resource officers to better interact with troubled students and help those specific students with issues concerning to them.

Laky wants to offer the Salisbury Township School District as a site for work to be done. This way, students have an option to do community service in their own district. Laky and Officer Richard Nothstein will be the officers supervising the students working in the district. The board loved this idea and decided the resolution will be for any property the district owns.

Soberick attended to show his support and noted one of his goals is to create a better relationship between students and law enforcement. He sees this program as a defining way to do so. He simply wants law enforcement and students to become more acquainted.

Regarding board policies, Board Member Audrey Frick read the new language added to the weapons policy.

The policy now reads students may no longer carry pepper spray or mace on school property. This decision came after a couple of accidents, with no injuries, occurred during school hours at the elementary and high school levels.

In other news, Frankenfield announced applications have been received for the vacant seat on the school board. He and his team have been pushing to fill this position, with Frankenfield aiming for a decision in the next couple of weeks. The next step in the process is to interview the candidates for the two-year position.

Cut-off for applications officially closed after the board decided to move forward and schedule interviews. There are three candidates selected for public interviews.

The interviews were scheduled to be held 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7.

Board Secretary Michael Taylor said the new board member needs to be appointed within 30 days. The board is aiming to appoint and seat the new member by Oct. 9.