Murray Park Elementary School Principal Renee Bunge, right, airs concerns she has about the Boys & Girls Club using her school. Listening is Ashley O’Kon of BRAVE.
Murray Park Elementary School Principal Renee Bunge, right, airs concerns she has about the Boys & Girls Club using her school. Listening is Ashley O’Kon of BRAVE.

  "What is our mission?"

   The answer to that question for Ripon School Board members may determine whether they accept the Boys & Girls Club’s recent proposal. 

   The club is offering to start providing services in Murray Park Elementary School for grades 3-5 as soon as this fall. Other sites could be created in future years.

   In doing so, it would absorb the school district’s BRAVE program at each site, as well as its values, but retain the program’s leadership positions.
BRAVE positions would be paid by the school but would follow club directives. The club’s director of operations would oversee the school-based site, but the club and school district would create an arbitration committee to deal with issues and concerns.

   Also, the club would create a spot for a school district representative on the club’s board of directors.

   That proposal was considered by the Ripon Area School Board at a special board meeting Monday night.

   Following a presentation of the Boys & Girls Club and a question-and-answer session, the School Board considered two options: support the Boys & Girls Club being located somewhere within Ripon (but not at a school site) or approve the club’s proposal as presented with the club using space in school district buildings in place of BRAVE.

   No decision was reached, though one is expected to be made in two weeks at the March 25 School Board meeting.

   School Board members noted that, regardless how they vote at that time, they are in support of a Boys & Girls Club.

   However, board members also suggested the Boys & Girls Club cannot do everything and still do it as well as some might want.

   “Everybody needs to understand that we still need other organizations; they can’t come in and take over everything because what they do is not exactly what other organizations do,” School Board member David Scott said. “And there you also get into the problem of a small town and limited resources: ‘Do you send them all to one organization that does kind of an approximation of a million different things, or do you split them up to a bunch of separate organizations that do very specific things?’”

Read the full story in the March 7, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.