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Bessemer school board holds first meeting with new principal


Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

THE TWO Dave's seated next to each other during the school board meeting Wednesday afternoon in Bessemer. Dave Radovich, superintendent, is on the left and the new principal, Dave Wineburner is on the right.


Bessemer - The Bessemer School Board met on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. The meeting lasted over two hours and nothing was settled. Nothing was settled because decisions were not made as it was a working group. As such, without the concerns of voting, the members appeared free to brainstorm and think how best to engage the future, without setting any policy. No one from the public showed up.

Dave Wineburner, the new A.D. Johnston principal was in attendance, seated next to Dave Radovich, superintendent. The two Dave's already appeared to have a convivial relationship during the meeting. Nearly at the point of being able to finish each others sentences like brothers or established married couples.

The first order of business the board examined was the future of Bessemer and the grade configurations and what to do in light of the recent bond failure. Wineburner said, "We are in a good place. Everyone wants to join us." Anna Talaska, board member, proposed an idea of graduated moves out of Washington Elementary school. The board discussed this as an option worth looking into and if they ever decided to think about doing this, a transition team was needed to figure it out.

Dick Matrella said they could just start with the sixth grade next year, which according to Matrella would create a real junior high in the ADJ building with 6-8 grade students in the same building. Beth Steiger said they should consider plans in the future that begin the process of isolating Washington as the people have spoken they want the school closed. This topic took the majority of the meeting as nothing was settled but ideas were discussed about the future without including a new bond.

Moving on, Steiger brought up the need to begin considering how administrative and support staff will look in the future. If Washington were to close and the schools to consolidate in ADJ, there would be redundancies with current staff. The issue of pending retirements and how those retirements are happening within the next three years, making many of the decisions for the board, but they should be ready with a plan in the future as Radovich and other members of the support staff retire.

The group considered a proposal by Steiger regarding the potential for a staff and student survey. Wineburner interjected with experience he had from the school he just left in Minnesota and that he still had the survey and could get it to the board. Wineburner said, "the honey moon is over," meaning everyones happiness with him is past as of yesterday, since he is now on the job and part of doing his job results in some people being unhappy because, "you cannot please all the people all the time."

The Washington School gym scheduling appears to have been an issue in recent years with youth basketball. The group discussed how best to schedule the gym and make it readily available to the coaches and parents.

In addition to gym scheduling, the group discussed how to finance additional upgrades to Massie Field. The school is unable to ask for direct donations, but the booster club as an independent group is able to function as a fund raising arm according to the board. Steiger said she would discuss this opportunity with the president of the booster club and see if they can add another funding effort on top of the things they already do.


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