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Board Members, District Clash on New Programs That Could Compete with Parks and Rec

But board passes the motion unanimously and the district will now offer programs the city's Parks and Recreation Department also offers.

Greenfield and its neighboring communities will soon have options to participate in recreational activities other than those provided by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

After a discussion that was at times heated and lasted nearly an hour, the Greenfield School Board unanimously approved Superintendent Conrad Farner’s recommendation to authorize the administration to pursue “revenue-generating activities through community-service based activities" for one year at Monday’s board meeting.

The district will now move forward with its plan to offer adult activities including volleyball, softball, kickball, soccer and dodgeball with possible future additions including fitness classes, yoga, Zumba and cooking lessons.

The Parks and Recreation Department offers adult volleyball and softball, as well as fitness and health programs, leading some board members to question why the district would do the same.

“Many citizens of Greenfield rely on the Park and Rec Department,” board treasurer David Richlen said. “If we take all their revenue-makers and switch them over here to the high school and the , I’m worried the Greenfield Park and Rec Department won’t have the money for their other programs for the citizens.”

Richlen suggested the district generate revenue by continuing to rent out facilities such as the high school’s pool and performing arts center and that the district “come up with some programs that aren’t in competition” with the city’s, such as the approved adult soccer program.

“I don’t think it’s good for the citizens, I don’t think it’s good for us, and I don’t think it’s very smart,” Richlen said. “I think we can work better together.”

School Board president Bruce Bailey said the board has to do what is best for the district’s students but also expressed concern with what duplication could mean.

“My fear is that you take over this much stuff, you could be sealing the end of park and rec,” he said.

According to a report Farner submitted to the board Jan. 10, the renting of district facilities, such as the high school pool and auditorium, and the implementation of the adult activities could raise approximately $280,000 per year.

“All we’re trying to do is generate revenue for the district,” Farner said. “They are our facilities. We should be looking out for what’s in the best interests of the district.”

Bailey said members of the Parks and Recreation Board feel the school district is taking over and not being cooperative.

“I don’t understand that (claim),” Farner said. “We have worked with people. Just because someone comes and says there’s a lack of cooperation, I guess you have to question that. … we’ve been working around them. We’ve been talking to them about their schedule. We’ve been trying to do things in cooperation with them.”

Farner said the district subsidizes approximately $50,000 per year for parks and rec programs and allows the department to use district facilities.

“I can’t imagine anything more cooperative than that,” he said. “They don’t have to worry about costs to their facilities because they’re using ours for free.

“I think they view us as a potential threat; (that) is my guess. If they see us as competition, that’s their issue. But that’s not where we’re coming from.”

gfwatchdog February 23, 2011 at 05:31 AM
Bruce Bailey and Don Almquest seem to worry more about Greenfield Park and Rec. than there own school dist. They should be running for Alderman, not School Board. Remember this in April. As for David Richlen who knows what world he lives in.
Jean February 23, 2011 at 06:49 PM
I didn't really hear too much out of either one at the recent SB meetiing. Dave Richlen was certainly the most vocal, but I think he needs to chill out a little and let the administration work with this for a year or two to see how things play out. It could be that the district doesn't get enough enrollment to make it worth their while, but it's worth a try.
David Cotey February 23, 2011 at 07:14 PM
You're right, Jean. Bailey and Almquist, and Don Carlson, who also voiced concerns, were far less vocal than Richlen was Monday evening.
Lisa Heideman February 23, 2011 at 08:28 PM
I don't think enough people (including Jean and gfwatchdog) realize that if "Farner" and HIS supporters have their way with OUR money and OUR facilities to play with, without any type of legitimate PLAN, a year from now, we will no longer have a successful Park & Rec Department in our community. What programs will support the new Community Center???? Many surrounding communities WISH they had such a department like ours! It has taken alot of years of building it up and now with just a few people wanting it to be destroyed. Yes, there are ways and ideas to make $$$$ "hosting more activities in our community, but attacking (in this case, repeating what this department is alreading doing) is not the way. I think Scott (P&R Dir.) knows alittle bit more about running these programs than our school administration. And in the words of Mr. Moze, the other night...."let's leave it up to the experts".
Jean February 23, 2011 at 09:24 PM
Sorry to upset you with my opinion Lisa. I'm not sure what "Farner" means. I assume you are refering to Conrad Farner our district administrator. I have a child in the district schools and she has also participated in many, many Park & Rec. programs over the last several years. I don't want Park & Rec. to suffer, but I think there is a way for them and the school district to contribute to and enhance our community. I don't wish to disrespect any of the "experts" or other community members posting here, but I do think we should give the district a chance to test drive these programs and see if it works out. Like I said in my previous post, it may not.
David Cotey February 24, 2011 at 12:30 AM
To clarify a previous post, when I said "You're right Jean" I was simply agreeing with her comment in regards to Donald Almquist and Bruce Bailey not having as much to say about the matter in comparison to David Richlen, who was very outspoken. I was not taking sides. Greenfield Patch will continue to report subjectively, as it has since the site launched in late December. Sorry for any confusion.
Greenfield Resident Too! February 24, 2011 at 12:35 AM
gfwatchdog...I think it was inappropriate to slash school board members and indicate that they are more worried about the park and rec and not our school district. Should I mention that individuals running for school board positions also approved prior tax levies? This is about the school board stepping on the feets of the park and rec which in my opinion is not appropriate. Tax payers should ask who in the school district is working and has the working time available to prepare the propaganda (notifications are on the school district TV station asking for adult players and umpires), initiate the schedules, initiate the teams, hire and pay the umpires, etc. Is this our school tax money being utilized in a positive manner?
KHD March 02, 2011 at 05:50 AM
Why was my post deleted? Julie Rome should be thrown off the school board. She acted totally improper and the impression we get is that favors are done for members. I hope the state will look at this . I will forward all info . Delete this too, You can't handle the truth?
David Cotey March 02, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Hey Jim, Shoot me an email and I can explain why your post was removed. Thanks, David
RAJ March 02, 2011 at 02:22 PM
What truth Jim? What does the state have to do with this. There was no favor done. You brought a child into it. If you have a problem contact me. I can list all that you are doing as well, but will not go to that level.

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