Chester District 139 Superintendent Rick Goodman recently sat down with the Herald Tribune and discussed a variety of topics, including the status of the district"s personnel postings for the 2017-18 school year.
Previously, the District 139 Board of Education approved the posting of openings for assistant principal, part-time athletic director, high school social studies teacher and high school football and baseball head coaches.
Applications for those positions have a Feb. 10 deadline. As of Thursday, Goodman said the district had received two applications for the football position, one for the teacher and none for baseball coach.
The positions were coming open partly due to the retirement of athletic director/social studies teacher Mike Coffey, which takes effect at the conclusion of the current academic year.
Goodman noted that he preferred head coaches to be employed by the school district, primarily for the coach to be able to address the concerns of student-athletes more quickly.
"It"s better that way," he said.
Goodman was asked the status of the scoreboard and bathroom projects at W.O. Smith Field, two initiatives that were discussed during the school board"s December meeting.
"That"s looking very good," he said of the scoreboard, which would replace the current 20-year-old model. "I would still like to give an opportunity to the community businesses to display their businesses as advertising."
Goodman noted that selling advertising space could help pay for the cost of the 18x8-foot scoreboard, which has an estimated cost of $10,000 to $12,000. A design has not yet been approved by the board.
"I want the scoreboard to pay for itself," he said.
Goodman added he hoped to have a new scoreboard in place in time for the 2017 season.
"I hope to get permission on it to go ahead and do it," he said. "That"s my goal."
As for the bathrooms, Goodman said he was scheduled to meet with the district"s architect firm, Baysinger Architects, on Friday for a site exploration tour.
The bathrooms project is considered to be further down the road compared to the scoreboard project.
Goodman also gave his impressions of the rehabilitation of the field itself, maintenance of which is now in the second year of a six-year contract with Kueker"s Nursery of Perryville.
"I think we made a lot of progress on the turf situation," Goodman said. "I think we"ll really see a difference this fall."
Overall, 2017 is an important year for the district. Collective bargaining with the Chester Education Association - which represents the district"s teachers - is beginning, as is negotiations on a new busing contract.
"At this point, the district is owed $928,000 by the state," Goodman said. "$600,000 of that is reimbursement for the gymnasium project."
Goodman noted that money is tied up in the state"s budget mess.
"I would be extremely surprised to get that money from the Capital Development Board (for the gymnasium) before the budget is approved," he said.
Goodman added that his top two goals as superintendent are always to provide the best opportunities for the students and to not lay anyone off.
"I think about it every day," he said of the budget. "What can we do?"
One possibility is replacing retiring upper-tier teachers with new recruits, which may save the district some money in personnel costs.
Goodman noted that the general base salary for a new teacher, with a bachelor of science degree in Education, was $31,800 as of July 2016.
The next meeting of the board of education is scheduled for 7 p.m. on February 16 at Chester Grade School. It is open to the public.