Gateway takes heat for cuts, rental fees
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The Gateway school board took heat from residents again last week regarding decisions to cut funding for athletic programs and raise revenue by hiking rental fees for use of district facilities.
A handful of residents continued to criticize the board during its Oct. 24 meeting for its decision to make the athletic director position part time.
This came after Terry Smith, Gateway's football coach and athletic director, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the district. NAACP officials have said race played a role in the district's decisions concerning the athletic director position.
Gateway was presented with "papers" from the EEOC last week, Mr. Smith said.
During the meeting, Monroeville resident Bobbie Robak suggested a review of the athletic department and said the board has "no successful plan for [the] high school athletic department." She then said the board needs to be "rejuvenated" and called for President Dave Magill and Steve O'Donnell to step down.
Mr. Magill banged the gavel, refused to answer questions from Ms. Robak and said her allotted two minutes were up.
"The community sees how you treat us," Ms. Robak said as she left the podium. Another speaker noted during her time addressing the board that Mr. Magill wasn't making eye contact.
Two residents also spoke about the district's increased fees for the rental of district facilities. To rent the Gateway High School auditorium, for example, organizations could pay up to $800 an hour. By comparison, the maximum amount the Mt. Lebanon School District charges for four hours of use of its high school auditorium is less than $1,700.
A representative from the Pittsburgh International Children's Theater told the board last week that the new rental rates make Gateway more expensive than districts such as Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair.
In other matters, board member Bob Elms proposed a resolution that would provide bus transportation for Gateway's lacrosse and hockey teams, which comprise Gateway students but are not sanctioned by the district.
Mr. O'Donnell noted the district is trying to make a "paradigm shift" regarding funding for district sports.
Mr. Elms called the lack of bus transportation for the two teams a safety issue and said the district would only put up the funds for transporting the teams for the remainder of this school year. After that, the teams would be responsible for raising the money on their own.
Mr. O'Donnell countered that parents have a responsibility to transport students safely.
The resolution failed, 5-4, with Mr. O'Donnell, Mr. Magill, Dan Nowak, Scott Williams and Bill Bailey dissenting.
First Published November 1, 2012 5:03 am