A tie vote put Reynoldsburg Board of Education President Joe Begeny on the spot last week.

A tie vote put Reynoldsburg Board of Education President Joe Begeny on the spot last week.

Begeny cast the deciding vote Aug. 16 to break a 2-2 tie and switch meeting sites from various schools back to the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building, 7232 E. Main St., starting Sept. 20.

"This is a tough decision for me," he said.

"I love us being invited to have meetings at the individual schools, but this is a lot of money to spend. I'd like to revisit this at another time."

He was referring to a report from district Business Manager Todd Stahr, who presented a sheet calculating the cost of holding meetings at individual schools.

Stahr came up with an average cost of about $733 per meeting, for extra custodial and technician hours for such things as setting up and putting away chairs and tweaking sound systems.

The total cost for last year's meetings was $3,666, according to Stahr's calculations.

After hearing Stahr's report, board member Neal Whitman made a motion to move the meetings back to City Hall. He and board member Elaine Tornero voted in favor, with board members Debbie Dunlap and Robert Truex opposed.

Dunlap questioned Stahr's figures.

"I was taken aback by some of the hours listed," she said. "If we are doing this on a regular basis and it becomes a well-oiled machine -- I know some districts (that hold meetings in schools) say it is well worth it.

"I like being in the different buildings and getting a sense of what the kids are doing and see presentations by the kids in that school," she said. "I would like to discuss a possible investment in an audio system we could set up easily and tear down easily."

Whitman said he had heard from a handful of people who want the meetings at the schools, which is where they were held last school year.

However, he said, he also heard from others who thought it was easier to have the meetings consistently at City Hall.

The Sept. 20 meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.


In other business, board members passed a resolution to support the FEED Ohio program for the second year, but also for the second year, Tornero voted against it.

FEED Ohio is a program begun by Gov. John Kasich that encourages communities to pass a resolution to collect food and raise funds for their local food pantries during September.

Last fall, Begeny and then- board member Sandy Long volunteered to be targets at a "Pie in the Face" toss at Reynoldsburg High School. Nine raffle winners won a chance to use a catapult built by STEM students to toss pies at Long and Begeny.

All proceeds collected from that event went to the Reynoldsburg Helping Hands food pantry.

"We never know when we will be in the position to need help," FEED Ohio coordinator Crystal Davies said.

Last year, she recruited 65 neighborhood volunteers and coordinated the collection of more than 3,000 food and personal items for the food pantry, along with more than $350 in cash donations.

Tornero said she objected to the resolution because she feels it obligates schools to participate.

"It says in the resolution we would encourage our district to take part," she said. "That puts pressure on principals in our buildings when I would like the focus to be on getting the school year started.

"I also worry about parents, who have put out a lot of money for school supplies, clothing and fees and I do not want to ask them for more or put pressure on kids to collect canned goods," she said.

Begeny said he thought the program was, "something kids could get involved in as they chose."

Dunlap was a volunteer for the program last year.

"School has begun and this is another lesson for our children -- the ability to give and have empathy for others," she said.

"This is a statewide effort and I think we should agree to help the program and teach our children to do good things from the heart."