By Jeff Gallatin
City and school district officials are ready to advance allowing each entity to use the others respective facilities from a handshake to a more formal agreement.
After months of discussions and consideration by legal and elected officials for both city government and the school board, a more formal agreement is close to being approved. City Council’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee recommended at its Oct. 23 meeting having the full council approve it. It is scheduled for a final vote at tonight’s city council meeting, which was moved from it’s normal slot on Tuesday because of the election.
Mayor Kevin Kennedy said the new pact was initiated to try and protect the two different governmental entities in case one or the other had problems with facilities that they both use.
He cited as examples, city use of the school district’s gym for recreational basketball games or district use of the pool or ice rink at the North Olmsted Recreation Center for school athletic teams.
“It protects both governmental bodies by continuing to give them access to facilities even if the the other body is having some financial or other difficulties,” he said. “If the school district was having problems passing a levy and had to cut back on gym hours, we’d still have access for our recreational basketball leagues. Or if we we having some problems with the recreation center, the schools would still be able to play hockey at the rink or use the swimming pool.”
Kennedy said the more agreement is better for all parties.
“It’s better than a handshake and spells out what we’re all entitled too,” he said.
Interim North Olmsted Schools Superintendent Terry Krivak said the new agreement will better serve the entire community.
“I’m happy that we were able to sit down and hammer out the final details on this agreement, since it’s something which I believe needed to get done,” he said. “This is about a quality of life issue from my perspective. This
ensures that a lot of organizations, groups and teams from throughout the community can continue to have access to facilities under different circumstances. The various activities are things which people enjoy and we’re glad to make sure that they can continue to enjoy them.”
During discussion at the council committee sessions, Ward 4 Councilman Larry Orlowski said he was in favor of the agreement’s concept, but wanted to change four words in the proposed agreement make it better. Orlowski said he wanted to make sure council would be able to see any changes or facility matters pertaining to the city.
However, Kennedy said the administration would make sure council would get information pertaining to the facilities, but questioned making any changes to the proposed agreement at this stage, noting it had been approved in its current state by attorneys for the city and the school district.
Law Director Michael Gareau Jr. also cautioned against changes at this stage, noting it had taken several months to get the agreement to this stage. Any changes would likely have to be approved by school district attorneys and take an undetermined amount of additional time, Gareau said.