NEW EAGLE – Questions were raised at Ringgold’s school board meeting on Wednesday about why the district chose a new photographer to take student portraits.

Roderick Wilson, a Ringgold parent, expressed disappointment over the district’s decision to replace Savarino Studio, a Monongahela-based photography studio, with Lifetouch Inc., a photography company headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn.

“You don’t just nix someone who has been a pillar in this community,” said Wilson. “We should go with local businesses.”

Superintendent Megan Marie Van Fossan said the decision to change photographers was made before she came to Ringgold. She added that the district was looking for a photographer who could quickly digitize images.

“For safety purposes, we need to upload digital pictures of our students,” explained Van Fossan. “So, if a student was kidnapped or didn’t show up for school, we need to share an image of that child with the Ringgold police or surrounding police departments. For a significant period of time, we had asked him (Savarino) to digitize the pictures and provide us with the images. And that wasn’t happening.”

Van Fossan said that when the business office asked vendors to submit a proposal, Savarino Studio complied with that requirement but didn’t complete an application. After evaluating all the companies that submitted proposals, the district decided to extend a contract to Lifetouch Inc.

“I respect your opinion and wishes, but at this time, we have a contract with a carrier that was able to provide everything that we needed,” she said. “For instance, today, all it took was five minutes to upload every freshman picture and every fifth grade picture into our system.”

Van Fossan added that while Lifetouch is an out-of-state company, it is using a photographer who lives in Monongahela.

In other business, the board:

n Approved a motion to accept a proposal from HHSDR in the amount of $43,500 for the preparation and issuance of bid documents for the 2020 Miscellaneous Improvements at Ringgold High School.

n Approved a motion for payment to Piccolomini Contractors in the amount of $57,147 for the modular classroom and church demolition at Ringgold Elementary School North.

n Hired Megan Collins as a mathematics teacher at Ringgold High School and Jeffrey Trypus as a police sergeant for Ringgold School District Police Department.

n Appointed Matt Pretichevich as assistant volleyball varsity coach

n Approved the athletic director’s request to add the PIAA Foundation Race to the schedule of the varsity boys and girls cross country 2019 season.

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