ROCKSPRINGS — The Meigs Local Board of Education heard updates from administrators during this week’s regular meeting.
Transportation Supervisor Dean Harris spoke with the board about a proposed bill in the Ohio House, as well as the status of the buses for the upcoming school year.
House Bill 680, as explained by Harris, would require shoulder belts to be installed in all school buses by July of 2019. Harris said that the price quote he received for the parts and installation was around $21,000 per bus, with the district having 33 buses. Additionally, the work would take approximately 36 hours per bus.
Asked by the board about the safety of buses in Ohio, Harris stated that there had been one fatality on a school bus in the state since 1966, with that case involving a driver who had a seizure leading to the crash.
Another question discussed was the responsibility for making sure the children were buckled in with the belts. Harris explained that for the driver to go back and help a child buckle the belt, the bus would have to be turned off (a requirement if the driver leaves the seat). Additionally, it would not be possible for the driver to see if a child would unbuckle the seat belt while the bus was traveling down the road.
While safety remains the number one priority in school transportation, Harris stated that the bill as proposed is not a good approach at this time, and encouraged the board and other to reach out to their representatives on the matter.
He explained that bus standards in Ohio regarding construction of the bus itself are some of the most stringent in the nation. One such safety feature is that the engine, in a head-on collision, would be driven at an angle downward, rather than straight back into the passenger area of the bus.
As for bus inspections, Harris said the inspections went well, with five buses remaining to be completed after some warranty work is some on them.
Cleaning, painting and other maintenance work around the bus garage has also been taking place this summer in preparation for the 2018-19 school year.
Curriculum Coordinator Michael Barnett updated the board on testing and preparations for the upcoming school year.
Barnett stated that the math curriculum selection has been made, and will be presented at the next meeting for approval. The preliminary testing scores for the 2017-18 school year have been received, while the district is waiting to receive the scores from the summer testing related to the third grade reading guarantee. Those scores are expected to be in Aug. 21, just before the start of the school year.
Regarding class offerings for the upcoming school year, College Credit Plus Calculus has been added, with students completing the class to receive college credit through Rio Grande Community College. In addition, an AP Language Arts class is being added.
In other business, the board approved the hiring of Emily Baker, 4th grade teacher; Hannah Dailey, 5th grade teacher; Deanna Whitlatch, middle school cheer advisor; Nathan Becker, head cross country coach; Alex Saunders, Jeff McElroy, Michael Davis and Mike Kloes, assistant varsity football coaches; David Brainard and Kaileb Sheets, volunteer assistant varsity football coaches; Cass Cleland, Bryan Zirkle, Ben Eberts and Dan Thomas, seventh and eighth grade football coaches.
The board accepted the resignation of 5th grade teacher Kelsey Pasquale.
The resignation of Mona Frecker, for retirement purposes, effective Oct. 1, 2018, was accepted.
A one year leave of absence was approved for Douglas Dunn, for the purpose of personal growth and development, in accordance with board policy.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.