Board elects officers

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met this week, members of the Leavenworth Board of Education decided to keep their board president in place but selected a new vice president.

Board members unanimously voted to have Doug Darling continue to serve as the president. And board member Dannielle Wells was selected to serve as the new vice president.

The votes came Monday during what was an annual reorganizational meeting of the school board.

“I want to thank you all for your continued support,” Darling said after he was approved for the position of president for another year.

He was the only person nominated for the position.

Darling said he thinks the other six members of the board can do as well as he has in the position of board president. He suggested that next year may be an opportunity for someone else to serve in that position.

When it came to the vote for vice president, board member Judi Price nominated Wells for the position. This nomination was seconded by board member Michael Powell.

Board member John Goodman attempted to nominate Alisa Murphy for the position of vice president, but the nomination did not receive a second.

Murphy had been serving in the position of vice president.

The selection of Wells as vice president was approved 5-2. While they were counted as no votes, Goodman and Murphy actually abstained from voting.

“Mrs. Wells, you are now the vice president,” Darling said.

Darling later thanked Murphy for the support she had provided him while serving as vice president.

Darling said he is convinced he will receive similar support from Wells.

During Monday’s meeting, board members discussed options for land the school district recently obtained through a land swap with the city of Leavenworth.

The school district recently came into possession of what formerly had been city-owned land west of Richard Warren Middle School’s football field.

In exchange, the school district gave the city land that serves as the site of David Brewer Park.

District officials have discussed using the land by the middle school for baseball and softball fields for teams from Leavenworth High School.

Superintendent Mike Roth said Monday that he had consulted with officials from a company called Kansas Turf.

“We have been in some good discussions with Kansas Turf, who is a very respected company in the sporting field,” he said.

He said there are a variety of options board members could consider for competitive and practice baseball and softball fields at that location. In addition to baseball and softball fields, a soccer field also could be put at that location.

Roth told board members that constructing one baseball and one softball field each with artificial turf and one baseball and softball field each with natural grass would cost about $2 million. He said this would include things like dugouts, lighting and fencing.

He said he believes the construction of a concession stand and restrooms would increase the total cost to about $2.5 million.

Roth said the school district’s capital outlay fund has about $12 million, which provides flexibility for doing this type of project while still addressing other needs.

“All of this would need to be approved by September if we want to use it this spring,” Roth said.

Board member Mike Carney said he believes there may be an opportunity to reduce the cost by seeking donations, which may include in-kind donations.

Wells suggested scheduling a special board meeting to discuss the matter. She said board members need to discuss whether the new fields are necessary.

Currently, Leavenworth High School baseball and softball teams play home games at the Sportsfield complex, which is owned by the city of Leavenworth.

Carney said he believes the high school has a need for the new fields.

Board members plan to discuss the matter during a July 27 special board meeting. During the special meeting, board members also will discuss a district plan for reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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