PETERSTOWN — The Monroe County School Board is searching for a way to provide a public display of a treasure trove of sports-related memorabilia from the old Peterstown High School, and to clear up any misunderstanding related to the Peterstown Preservation Group (PPG).
“The plan is that we are working on a solution,” said School Board member Sabrina Stutts, who serves the Peterstown area on the board. “I think there have been a couple of possibilities thrown out. Hopefully, we will know more as the situation progresses.”
Trophies and other sports memorabilia from decades past had been on display at the PPG’s Market Street & Co. non-profit store in Peterstown since 2017.
However, the group was told last week by the school board they need to return them since they had only been loaned and the items were never released as surplus, which they must be before they are sold or donated to any entity.
But the PPG posted on social media that they “displayed them proudly and never thought they would ever be recalled.”
That disagreement prompted the school board’s attorney, Mary Catherine Tuckwiller, to send an official letter to the PPG recalling the trophies and memorabilia.
According to the letter, the school board is bound by law and the state Board of Education policies on disposing of school property.
“Only the purchasing director in consultation with the Chief School Business Official can declare property surplus and determine how to dispose of the property,” the letter said, adding that the Peterstown Preservation Group was “historically loaned’ the trophies and mementoes and not “gifted in perpetuity which the group thought happened.”
“We regret any misunderstanding … “ the letter said, but prior to the loan the property had not been declared surplus. it has now been declared surplus and all of the trophies and mementoes are being recalled.
On Monday, the PPG posted that MCS (Monroe County Schools) “maintenance men packed and loaded Peterstown’s 80+ trophies/large plaques, signed footballs and basketballs, photographs, basketball victory nets and 25+ small plaques into the JMHS (James Monroe High School) trailer and took them away to be auctioned.”
Although the letter indicated the items may be part of an “upcoming auction,” Stutts said that is not the case.
An online auction is now being held for the contents of the old school, which became Peterstown Middle School and that school closed last year after the new Peterstown School opened on Rt. 12 near Ballard.
The PPG thought the items would be part of an auction and posted, “These items should be on public display. We are grieving the loss of this collection with the priority of money over community.”
Stutts said there was never any intention to include the items in the current online auction, but the school board had in the past discussed the possibility of an auction to benefit a sports program or sports-related entity, and individual players, coaches and teams may want some of them.
“It was only discussed as an option,” she said, but the main focus has been to work on a solution where the items would be showcased at the new Peterstown School.
Stutts said the school board has held two meetings when the items were on the agenda asking for public input on what is the best thing to do since display space in schools is limited.
“No one came to any of the meetings (to speak),” she said, and she did not hear from anyone offering any ideas, including anybody from the PPG.
Stutts said the items had been in storage (not saved from the “dump,” as was posted on the Market Street & Co. social media site) prior to being on display at the building and from the very beginning the school board saw it as a temporary loan to the PPG until a permanent solution could be determined.
The goal, she said, is to find a solution that best benefits everyone, and that is what the school board is working on.
A representative from the PPG could not be reached for comment.
— Contact Charles Boothe at email@example.com