Grandparent unhappy with comments at concert

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A longtime Columbia Falls resident and civic leader wasn’t too happy with the message he received at a recent school elementary school concert.

Tad Rosenberry told the Columbia Falls School District 6 board last week he went to watch his grandchildren at the Christmas concert at Glacier Gateway Elementary School. The school held the concert in the old junior high gymnasium, which has the old wooden seats with no railings.

He said the gym was crowded with family members who came to watch the show. He was worried there was no railings for older folks trying to get to their seats.

When Rosenberry made a comment about the crowding to Gateway School staff member, the person said, “We’re crowding you in here so you’ll vote for the levy.”

That was a reference to the anticipated bond levy to either renovate Gateway or build a new elementary school entirely.

Rosenberry didn’t take kindly to the comment and expressed his disappointment to the board.

The board agreed the comment was out of line.

“That was very inappropriate,” board chair Jill Rocksund said.

School superintendent Steve Bradshaw said he wasn’t aware that the school held the concert in the old junior high gym. He thought it was held in the school’s multi-purpose room.

Gateway in past years has held its concerts at the Little Theater at the high school, but that venue is also overcrowded, with parents often spilling out into the halls because there’s not enough seats.

In other news:

• The board watched a student-made video on suicide prevention that looks to be proactive in address suicide. The video hasn’t been made public yet, high school Student and Family Advocate/Homeless Liaison Tamara Sundberg told the board, though the board was impressed with its quality and message.

• The board learned of a new reading program at Glacier Gateway, where members of the public are encouraged to come to the school and read the students.

• Trustee Michael Nicosia again brought up having a school board member at least be invited to head coaching interviews. The topic came up when it came time to approve the hire of new girls’ soccer coach Thomas Clark. School superintendent Steve Bradshaw said Clark had been interviewed just before Christmas by himself, school principal Scott Gaiser and athletic director Troy Bowman, though no school board member interviewed him. Nicosia didn’t hold up the hire, but board vice chairman Dean Chisholm agreed that a board member should be involved in the hiring process, as it would help the administration. Board members noted that when the public is displeased with a coach, they go to the board, not the administration.

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