WASHINGTON — Assistant coach Eric Schermerhorn was appointed interim coach of the Washington Community High School boys basketball team last week.

He's filling in for Coach Kevin Brown, who was granted a leave of absence so he can focus on his treatment for brain cancer.

Brown is a physical education teacher at the high school. Mark O'Neill was hired Monday by the School Board as a long-term substitute PE teacher in Brown's absence.

"Mark retired from our school last year but he has the time and interest in the position, and we're happy to have him on board," said Superintendent Kyle Freeman.

“We have another retired teacher (Mark Probst) helping out with PE, but retired teachers can work only 120 days in a school year so having an extra person in the PE department will help.”

Approval of the low bid for the removal and replacement of an underground diesel fuel storage tank and the dangers of e-cigarettes also were discussed Monday by the board.

The low bid of $54,404 for the storage tank work was from Pekin-based Illinois Oil Marketing Equipment.

Board member Jennifer Essig asked if the high school will be getting a return on its investment.

Freeman said the storage tank was installed in 1982 and while it isn't leaking, the high school is being proactive in replacing it and there's money in the budget for the work.

"This is like replacing your roof before it leaks. If your roof starts leaking, then replacing it becomes incredibly expensive," said board member Chris Armstrong.

Freeman also said it's important to have access to diesel fuel on campus for school buses and equipment and by buying fuel in bulk, the high school saves money.

Holding up the front page of Sunday's Journal Star, board member Gloria McNett pointed to a story about e-cigarette explosions and health concerns and asked if high school administrators are being proactive in educating students about e-cigarettes.

"This is a new epidemic. We're having constant conversations about it," Freeman said. "E-cigarettes are being discussed with students in our health classes and we've sent home information to parents. Any support we can get from home would be welcome."

Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.