ASHLAND – The Ashland-Greenwood Board of Education accepted the resignation of one of its own on Monday night.
Tom Walsh resigned because he has taken a job with the school district as Superintendent Jason Libal’s administrative assistant.
Walsh replaces Jolene Wagner, who recently retired from the position. Libal said Walsh’s position has been expanded to incorporate additional management and supervisory duties. Walsh will also work with the Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools Foundation.
Libal said Walsh’s background as a school board member and a resident of the district made him a great fit for the position. Walsh’s first day was July 8.
“We are excited to have him on board,” Libal said.
However, Walsh’s resignation means the board has “big shoes to fill,” Libal added.
The school board has 45 days from Monday to appoint a replacement, but they can extend that deadline if necessary, Libal said. The new board member will fill out the rest of Walsh’s term.
Libal said it would be ideal to have an applicant from Greenwood, while Board Member Dave Nygren said it is also important to have a board member with children who are school-aged, because three current members do not have children still in school.
Walsh was first elected in 2010. He was reelected in 2014 and 2018. Libal said the new board member will fill out the rest of Walsh’s current term, which ends January 2022.
“They’re jumping into a term that doesn’t end too quickly,” Libal said.
Walsh told his fellow board members in his resignation letter that he had “mixed emotions” about leaving the school board.
“I am sad I will not be able to serve with you as a board member,” he wrote. “I will truly miss our interactions.”
But Walsh added that he is excited about his new position.
“I have felt called to be where I am at and feel I have been doing an on-the-job interview for the past 16 years,” he wrote.
Most of the other items on Monday night’s agenda were routine to prepare for the upcoming school year.
As the board approved the census report, Libal noted that the number of students age 5 to 18 increased 7.59 percent over last year.
“That’s a significant increase,” he said.
Libal said the census counts all children living in the district, including students that are home-schooled or attend other districts. But the numbers still indicate enrollment will continue to increase in the future.
“We’ve known that growth was coming and it’s continuing to come,” he said.
The board also approved the 2019-20 bus routes, which remain the same as last year with the exception of some changes in the special education routes, Libal said.
The superintendent also said that he has received a request from a resident living inside city limits for bus transportation. The district does not bus students within city boundaries.
“We’re not at that point right now, but I know that’s going to be a continuing discussion point,” Libal added.
The school board also approved hiring a new cleaning company for the elementary school. Libal said FBG Service Corporation will begin on Aug. 1. They replace Sparkling Klean, the company the district has paid to clean the elementary since they opted to go with a contractor many years ago.
Libal said the district was “extremely unhappy” with Sparkling Klean’s service in recent years, citing a lack of oversight and accountability for employees. He also said the work was not being done to the district’s satisfaction.
“The elementary is not where we want them to be,” he said.