Board approves funding for volunteer certification expenses

by Melissa Martin

July 19 board of education meeting

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Board of Education agreed to pay part of the cost of credentialing non-staff members and other athletic volunteers starting this fall.

Following the board’s discussion in June, Superintendent Jeff Harrison was asked to survey neighboring districts to determine how common it is for school districts to bear the brunt of first-aid and concussion certification costs.

Harrison said that after surveying 21 districts in Northeast Ohio, the study concluded that approximately half fund the annual expense.

Harrison recommended the board use an application, Coaches Tool Chest, that would allow the district to track which volunteers complete their training and when. He also said the app would enable volunteers to complete their training for the year in 60 to 90 minutes and cost the district $45 a year per volunteer.

With approximately 200 volunteers districtwide, Treasurer Craig Yaniglos said, the district expects to pay approximately $9,000 a year for credentialing. The athletic department will be charged with overseeing the credentialing process.

The move will reduce volunteers’ expenses from $252 to $105; the district declined to cover the cost of background checks and activity permits. Harrison said those certifications will continue to be paid by volunteers, who must update them every three to five years.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Harrison said. “It still requires a level of commitment on behalf of our volunteers, but it will provide them with a one-stop shop for credentialing that they are able to complete at home. This puts us in line with most of our peer districts.”

Harrison said legislation will be drafted for the board by its August regular meeting and, once approved, credentialing expenses for the upcoming school year’s volunteers will be reimbursed accordingly.

The board voted 4-1 to allocate $75,000 to the turf field fund in 2023.

Yaniglos said the board has set aside approximately $25,000 a year to replace the high school football field every10-12 years. With proper maintenance, the current turf will have to be replaced in 3-4 years.

“It’s not play that destroys the field so much as ultraviolet light,” Yaniglos said, noting that technology is being used to extend the life span of turf fields.

The administration said there is approximately $350,000 in the fund, but the cost of replacing the field is expected to top $600,000, which means that allocating $25,000 a year for the next four years won’t completely fund the project.

“That’s why it makes sense to move a little more into the fund while we have a little extra funding available from last year,” Yaniglos said, noting that setting the money aside now protects it from being spent elsewhere.

The board considered allocating $100,000, but members ultimately settled on $75,000 knowing that money can be added to the account from the general fund at any time.

“We can always use the general fund to backfill on permanent improvement projects, but once we transfer money to the turf fund, that money can’t be transferred back to the general fund,” Yaniglos said.

The board unanimously approved several policy corrections, all of which were technical and stemmed from hiring new staff members or making staff title changes.

The board announced that the first day of the 2023-2024 school year will be Aug. 21. ∞