The Swanton Board of Education held a meeting on Wednesday that included information on Destination Imagination and the renewal issue on the May ballot.
Carson Santchi approached the board on behalf of Swanton’s Destination Imagination team. Santchi requested funding for the team to compete at globals.
“We are very low on funds.” Santchi stated, revealing that they only had one dollar at the moment.
He said that this will be a huge opportunity for the team, as it is the first time they have qualified for globals. “We don’t know if we can go again,” he added.
Santchi informed the board that while he is the only high schooler on a team of middle schoolers, “Since you can only move up in tiers, they will be competing against high schoolers.” Which makes this an even larger achievement for the team.
The board was very supportive of Santchi’s efforts, as well as the team’s accomplishments. Board member Autumn Adams said “Sounds like a great opportunity. I’d like to do what we can.”
The board decided to provide the team with up to $3,000 to help cover whatever expenses they need. Santchi said The money will go to transportation, food, lodging and similar items.
Superintendent Chris Lake requested that the district renew the income tax levy. He stated that it generates about $1.8 million a year, which is roughly 13% of the district’s revenue. “The levy committee has been meeting fairly regularly.” Lake stated. He added that they are encouraging people to go to the polls and vote on the issue.
Swanton High School principal Jason Longbrake and recently approved assistant principal Tony Menna informed the board of the growing issue of vaping in school, and the school’s random drug test policy.
Longbrake addressed concerns of some students and community members, that the drug tests are not random and certain students get targeted every time. He said that Great Lakes Biomedical, who Swanton uses to perform the tests, creates a randomly generated list of 40 students from Swanton High School and Swanton’s P.E.N.T.A. students.
“It is truly random. Some kids always get picked, some kids never get picked,” he stated.
He also mentioned that only certain groups of students are eligible for these random tests, including students who drive to school and students involved in extracurricular activities. Longbrake defined an extracurricular as a school activity that is not for a grade. He explained that this discludes activities such as band and choir.
Longbake and Menna presented the board with a new policy on vaping and electronic cigarettes that is planned to go into effect next school year.
The principal spoke of how large and out of control the problem of vaping has become, stating, “Some schools are starting to call this an epidemic of vaping.”
Menna expanded on how hard it can be to catch students vaping, as it is odorless, can be easily concealed in clothing like hoodies, and undetectable by drug dogs even when it contains THC.
Longbrake added that it is also nearly impossible to distinguish between THC vape, nicotine vape, and just water. This means that in many schools, if a student is caught with any kind of vape device, it is treated as a drug charge of the same degree as marijuana, leading to the expulsion of the student.
“Districts in Ohio are really tightening up on this vaping policy,” Menna said.
“We want to change our policy by next year, so we can educate not only the community but the kids,” Longbrake said.
Also at the meeting, Lake, asked the board to approve the esports as an athlete activity, and allow the team to use Swanton’s logo and mascot for competition. A motion was made to do so, but it failed. Kris Oberheim, Steve Brehmer, and David Smith voted against the measure. Autumn Adams and Shannon Crow voted in favor.
The board approved the boys basketball team’s overnight trip at Eastern Ohio, that will be taking place June 9-11.
Reach Jacob Toeppe at firstname.lastname@example.org