Big Walnut school board praises athletics, academics


Athletics and academics were the main topics of an hour-long Big Walnut school board meeting Thursday morning.

Big Walnut High School Athletic Director Brian Shelton said Big Walnut’s home opener, a 14-6 victory over Delaware Hayes, went well despite a lightning strike to the press box. He said the fall sports teams are complying as best they can with the state mandates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shelton said the lower attendance requirements will reduce revenues for the season. Instead of 100% capacity, there is 15% capacity for attendance. In addition, there will only be two home football games. There may be a chance to host playoff games, though.

Treasurer Jeremy Buskirk said it may be necessary to transfer funds in order to support the athletic programs.

On the other hand, Big Walnut Middle School Athletic Director Joe Rucker said attendance was double what it normally would be for Wednesday’s football home opener, which was moved to BWHS, even with a ticket price increase.

“I just want to publicly thank these two (Shelton and Rucker),” Superintendent Angie Hamberg said. “There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes before games every year that people don’t see. They’ve had to pivot and make adjustments this year with very little notice. I’m really proud of the work they and the staff have done to get our kids out there competing, and I think things have gone really well because of everyone’s hard work.”

“As the parent of a high school athlete, I appreciate all that you have done to make this happen so our kids can do what they love,” said Board of Education Vice President Liana Lee. “It’s not ideal to be a spectator right now, but it’s about these kids on the field.”

Director of Academic Achievement Jen Young discussed how the district would handle crisis remote learning if needed. She said the district was able to get a lot of parent feedback when classes went remote in mid-March through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Class time would be three to four hours, based on teacher instruction averages, with scheduling differences for grade levels.

Board member Steve Fujii praised Young for putting together the plan and hoped it wouldn’t be necessary to use.

In other board matters, Facilities Director Doug Swartz gave a construction update and said a change order would be covered by contingency costs. Assistant Superintendent Mark Cooper discussed changes to the district’s Title IX Policy regarding the elimination of hearings at the high school level. Board member Doug Crowl said he is concerned about personal liability and wished to have a work session on the policy. Hamberg said the policy could change frequently in the near future. No action was taken.

The board did approve the standard Educational Service Center plan for the school year.

In other news, the district has established a COVID-19 dashboard on its website. To date, there are no cases reported in any Big Walnut building. For more information, visit

The Big Walnut Local School District’s Administration Office on Tippett Court is the site for BW Board of Education meetings. Big Walnut Local School District’s Administration Office on Tippett Court is the site for BW Board of Education meetings. Gary Budzak | The Gazette

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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