GLENWOOD | A split vote by the Brookwood Elementary District 167 School Board on Monday will result in the installation of a wrought iron fence around the Longwood Elementary School playground at a cost not to exceed $11,600.
Board President Melinda Plott said the safety measure was called for to prevent young schoolchildren from walking off school grounds. It was proposed in the wake of a recent incident in which a third-grader reportedly wandered from the playground during school hours. The child was not harmed.
D.167 Superintendent Pamela Hollich said the fence would contain a childproof gate, but it would not be locked.
"It's not meant to keep people out, for instance, on the weekends," Hollich said.
Board members Deborah Birmingham, John Dixon and Lorrie Wheeler voted no to the fence installation. Board Vice President Cynthia Pettis, board Secretary Shirley Brunson and member Arthur Taylor approved the measure.
Plott cast the deciding vote to construct the fence.
Dixon said his decision was based mostly on economics.
"I thought it would be best to cut a little money," Dixon said. "I really didn't think it was going to prevent any kids from leaving (the grounds)."
The board also approved the purchase of new wall pads for the Hickory Bend Elementary School gymnasium at a cost not to exceed $3,700.
The board voted unanimously to replace the current pads that Hollich said are not high enough to accommodate the adults and older children who use the gymnasium after school hours.
In other district news:
• The most recent school board newsletter tells residents that if they vote to approve a referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot that would allow the School Board to sell bonds in the amount of $15.8 million, a new middle school would likely open in the fall of 2015.
Portions of the current Brookwood Middle School are 114 years old.
The newsletter says the approximately 62,000-square-foot new school would result in a tax increase of $1.50 per month for every $100,000 of a home's market value.
• Nomination packets for potential candidates in the April 9 District 167 School Board election are available at the district's Administration Center, 201 Glenwood-Dyer Road.
Four of the seven seats on the board will be up for election, and those elected will serve four-year terms.