WUHS superintendent says district needs to step away
By Dave Fidlin
Future iterations of Balloonfest could still take place on Waterford Union High School’s grounds, though the district itself likely will have a more passive role.
WUHS Superintendent Luke Francois discussed the high school’s relationship, going forward, with Balloonfest organizers as efforts are underway to revert back to making the event a routine part of Waterford’s summer itinerary.
Francois, who presented the School Board with amended administrative guideline language pertaining to the use of district facilities at a meeting Oct. 24, said the Waterford Lions Club is taking the lead on planning.
“This will be a Lions event,” Francois said. “We are shying away from being an active participant.”
The administrative guideline amendment specifically pertained to the “use of alcohol on school grounds for a festival off-site when school is not in session.” The language is tailored to Balloonfest, since it would occur during the summer hiatus from the regular instructional year.
After a prolonged absence, Balloonfest returned this July for a one-year extravaganza. WUHS officials championed the event’s return and had a hands-on role with some of the planning.
But Francois said it would not be sustainable for high school staffers to have an active role in Balloonfest on a recurring basis.
“To be honest, it would be a heavy lift for the high school to carry year after year,” Francois said.
If alcohol consumption was deemed an issue of concern in the future, WUHS would have the authority to prohibit it at future Balloonfest events, Francois said.
“We’d continue to monitor it, year to year,” Francois said.
In its original iteration in Waterford, Balloonfest ran from 2011-2018 and had primarily taken place on the Waterford Graded School District’s grounds, at Evergreen Elementary School. The past event spanned multiple days.