Big Walnut hires new treasurer

By Gary Budzak - [email protected]

SUNBURY — The Big Walnut Board of Education selected a new treasurer Thursday, but the meeting was overshadowed by discussion about a book.

The board approved a one-year contract for Darren Jenkins as interim treasurer, effective Sept. 25 through July 31, 2023. He will replace current Treasurer Jeremy Buskirk. Jenkins was welcomed to the district by board member Sherri Dorsch.

President Doug Crowl thanked Dorsch for her help in finding Jenkins.

“Hopefully, everything goes good for the next few days as you transition,” Crowl said to Jenkins. “And we will miss Jeremy.”

Superintendent Ryan McLane said, “We are off to a pretty good start to the school year. I would like to thank our teachers, our support staff, our bus drivers, maintenance/custodial staff, and our administrators for working together, pitching in where they can, to make this start as smooth as possible. We’ve got 220 new students to the district, not counting kindergarten and preschool, so far this year. Hoping they’re having a great experience.”

Board member Alice Nicks agreed with McLane, and also gave thanks to all for a positive start.

Board member Angela Graziosi was about to go over a list of selected board policy changes. It was determined that some matters were clerical changes and others were a matter of concern, but all board members should be sent the same list outlining why changes were needed, before the two-reading and vote process.

There were nine members of the public who spoke during the meeting. The first asked the board to be transparent regarding its library inventory policy. The second was against removing books from the high school’s reading list.

Then four people read passages from the award-winning novel “Looking for Alaska,” which they feel should be removed from the district. Some denigrated it for what they called its “fourth grade reading level.”

“This is very uncomfortable to read, and this is what our children are reading in school,” one of the speakers concluded after reading a passage.

“This book has been removed from classrooms across the country for good reason,” a fifth person said. A sixth person said they were going to read from the book but decided to spare the board from the “profanity and smut. I can’t believe this book has been assigned for reading in this district.”

The final person applauded the board’s policy for allowing teachers to talk about controversial issues that are related to instructional purposes, such as “Looking for Alaska.”

The board then went into executive session. The next board meeting is Sept. 15.

By Gary Budzak

[email protected]

Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County. He may be reached at the above email address or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County. He may be reached at the above email address or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.