Synthetic turf will be installed at the Thomas Worthington High School stadium over the summer, thanks to a generous donation.

Synthetic turf will be installed at the Thomas Worthington High School stadium over the summer, thanks to a generous donation.

Cards Inc., the TWHS athletics booster group, presented a check for $432,783 to the Worthington Board of Education on May 23 and will add to that donation as needed to pay for the new ground covering.

The district will pay $102,000 toward the new surface. That is the amount set aside for reseeding of the playing field in the 2006 bond issue.

A contract for $616,783 was awarded to The Motz Group of Cincinnati.

Competitive bidding was waived in the awarding of the contract. Instead, the district "solicited several potential installers of synthetic turf," according to the board's agenda.

Facilities director Tim Gehring told the board that forgoing the sealed bid process was "inconsistent with board policy but consistent with state law."

No board member questioned the move.

Cards Inc. has been raising money for the project for many years.

Synthetic turf is said to be safer than regular turf and will support sustained use, allowing more athletics and other events to be held in the stadium.

According to TWHS athletics director Dan Girard, the surface will allow the school to host regional tournaments and contests, thus generating revenue for the district.

Also on May 23, three Worthington Kilbourne High School students asked the board to reconsider a decision to no longer offer upper-level French classes at the school.

Because of low enrollment, the upper-level courses will be offered at Thomas Worthington only, with busing to Thomas from Kilbourne available for upper-level French students.

Likewise, upper-level Latin classes will be offered only at Kilbourne, with busing available for Thomas Latin students.

Students Matthew Cooperman, Jami Brunner and Rosalyn Chen told the board how valuable the upper-level French courses have been. Cooperman said the courses no longer would be a true option at Kilbourne because of scheduling conflicts.

The board also voted 3-2 to not join the National School Boards Association (NSBA), contrary to a recommendation by board member David Bressman.

The organization would provide background on national and international education issues that should be discussed by the board, Bressman said.

"I don't think we're the board we should be," he said.

He also said he did not expect the board to approve, as joining would cost $3,738.

Only board member Charlie Wilson voted with Bressman.

The board pays for professional development for staff and should do the same for the school board, he said.

Veteran board member Jennifer Best said the board once belonged to the NSBA and sent a representative to its annual meeting. She recalled that the membership was not worth the cost.

Julie Keegan and Marc Schare said they also could not justify the cost.

Schare agreed that the level of discussion on the board needs to be improved, and more work sessions should be held. Joining the NSBA would not achieve that goal, he said.