A Newbury parent turned the tables on the Newbury Board of Education Monday, following a presentation intended to present the school in a positive light.
Venting his frustrations over the closing of the school, Pekin Road resident Phil Paradise called on the board to “remember” the video shown at the start of the meeting that presented Newbury schools as a “Cool School.”
The video was a replay of a segment on Cleveland’s Fox 8 television in which reporters visit and describe the positive aspects of local schools. The video showed students, noting that everyone knows everyone in the small, intimate setting and are more like a family with older children mingling with the upper classes. Students that were interviewed described the advantages they had in the smaller school with opportunities to participate in numerous extracurricular activities.
“Remember that,” Mr. Paradise told the board.
He said the video showed what a “great school” the community had as it prepares to lose it with the pending territory transfer to West Geauga schools.
“The people wanted what made Newbury a special school,” Mr. Paradise said.
He referred to past school boards that were “fiscally responsible” and “kept Newbury a community.”
He also referred to a report by the school’s athletic director, Anthony Forfia, which noted the athletic accomplishments, despite the challenges presented by transferring students.
Mr. Forfia had noted that the girls’ varsity volleyball team had finished 19-5 and were league champions for the third straight year. He credited Michael Chafee, principal of the high school and junior high, who, as coach of the volleyball team, had guided them to another championship.
Mr. Forfia also described the challenges the district faced as it prepared for another season of football. Despite losing players to transfers to other school districts, the team got 19 players together for the team. Of those 19, he said, nine had never played organized football.
Despite those challenges, the football team posted a 7-3 record and missed the playoffs by less than a percentage point (0.3).
The board did not respond to Mr. Paradise’s comments.
Prior to Mr. Paradise’s comments, board president Maggie Zock said West Geauga was expected to cast the final vote on the territory transfer Monday. West G BOE did vote unanimously to accept the Newbury territory. Next week, the West G board will travel to Columbus for the final step.
Mrs. Zock said after the West G vote, Newbury and West Geauga would start conducting joint board meetings.
She also noted that the board has been meeting with the Geauga County Educational Service Center to discuss staffing options.