Buckeye Local Board of Education keeps school building

TILTONSVILLE — The Buckeye Local Board of Education has decided to retain ownership of an old school building rather than sell it to a local businessman.

At its meeting Monday, the board heard from William Powers about a proposed business plan involving the vacant Buckeye North Elementary building, located near the current school. Powers and his son, William Powers II, own and operate Powers Defensive Tactics, a business that teaches self-defense and concealed-carry courses.

Powers spoke about his desire to purchase the empty building and turn it into a business area for several different ventures, including a restaurant, a gun supply store and a small convenience store, among others. On Monday, Powers spoke again to the board, saying he thought his proposed businesses could help the area economically.

He also pointed out the district was on the verge of a financial emergency, and the money from a sale would be useful in alleviating that. When the board was asked for a motion to sell the building, no one responded, leaving the building in the hands of the school district.

When Powers asked the board why they decided not to sell, he was told it was “for the safety of the students.” At the March meeting, several teachers and parents who have students in the school expressed concern about having firearms sales and supplies so close to the elementary school, which was a factor in the board’s decision.

Board members also accepted several resignations from retiring staff in the district, including longtime superintendent’s secretary Carol Webb. Upon the announcement, Webb received a standing ovation from the board and others in attendance, and board member Dirk Pielech thanked her for her years of service, assuring her she would be missed.

Interim Superintendent Scott Celestin also asked the community to keep several members of the Buckeye Local family in their thoughts. A teacher transporting a student home on Saturday night was struck by a drunk driver, although no one was injured in the incident. Celestin added that a Buckeye Local softball player also broke her leg during a game Saturday, and will require surgery.

Other items approved by the board included accepting a donation of $1,500 for a student to attend the Close Up program in Washington D.C.; and approving the second reading of proposed board policy changes.

The board also approved several school events, including a senior lock-in in April and a trip to New York City in November for Merit Scholar students. The board also spent an hour and a half in executive session to discuss personnel, with no action taken.

The next meeting of the Buckeye Local BOE will be at 6 p.m. April 24 at the Wells Township Community Center in Brilliant.