District looks to save money by changing bus routes, school start times

Board weighs options for old Benld property

Board members Dave Griffel, Billy Carter, and Weye Schmidt look listen as administrators explain their updates.

Board members Dave Griffel, Billy Carter, and Weye Schmidt look listen as administrators explain their updates.

Assistant superintendent Joe Tieman updated the board on results from Gary Niehaus, transportation director, during a regular board meeting on April 22. Tieman questioned Niehaus months ago how the shift to the new school would affect bus routes and timing for both schools.

Tieman believes the best plan is to keep the elementary school starting and ending at 8am to 3pm, but believes the district needs to change starting and ending times for middle and high school. The proposed change would adjust the start time 15 minutes later changing the start time to 7:30 to 7:45am and 2:30 to 2:45pm. “We are recommending these changes,” Tieman added.

Niehaus has done nearly all of the work for the district documenting and analyzing miles. “We want to save miles and save money, plus coordinate picking up and dropping off from two campuses,” Tieman added as he turned it over to Niehaus. Niehaus explained it would alleviate car traffic as well. From the bus perspective, he said it would be impossible to get all students from the Benld/Wilsonville area to school at the same time.

Three bus routes covering those locations would have to be run twice, Niehaus said, but the other three buses will only run the route once. After driving the routes, he said the district would save nearly 100 miles a day. The buses are running nearly 75 cents a mile right now. “This is just the first introduction we are looking at preparing for next year. It will save significant dollars as transportation money keeps going down from the state,” Superintendent Skeans explained.

Changing three buses to just one route, the first person on the bus should be off the bus before one hour passes. “They say no students should be on the bus for more than one hour and that’s the way we have it set up right now,” Niehaus concluded. The bus itself is running an hour and fifteen minutes, but that is to and from the garage to the stops. These plans are just proposals and will undergo tweaking over the summer break to develop figures from the 2013-2014 school year.

Current Construction Project Update

Tom Hyde, district architect, updated the board on the new school. He explained the contractors expect the classroom wings to be complete by April 30 and anticipate completion of the gymnasium, commons, and office wing by late May. Site work completion depends on the weather and geothermal well field drilling is complete for wings C, D, E with two wings left. Drilling should be completed within 30 days. Percent complete to date is 91%.

Hyde requested approval on change orders 9 and 10. The proposal for the well casing removal is $614 per well totaling $192,156. The change order was approved 6-1 with Jennie Alepra objecting stating “this shouldn’t be our responsibility to cover this.” Change order number 10 totaled $31,643 pertaining to the 5 gym windows and structural steel framing to hold up doors and frame doors. Change order 10 was passed 7-0.

Superintendent’s Update

Superintendent Skeans requested a nod from the board members asking for him to continue to do research for mine subsidence insurance. With the approval of every member, Skeans explained he will get the insurance agent to the next meeting to explain the plan in depth.

Superintendent Paul Skeans notifies the board to start thinking about uses for the Benld property.

Superintendent Paul Skeans notifies the board to start thinking about uses for the Benld property.

Skeans then explained to the board members they will have to decide in the future what will be done with the property in Benld. The project is at a standstill right now, but will be demolished in the future and the board will have to decide to keep the property or go a different direction with it. Skeans explained there are 3 possible directions the board could go:

  1. Keep the property for the district and “be forced” to maintain the property, carry insurance on it, and any other expense that comes to the district.
  2. Turn the property over to a governmental agency, like the City of Benld, with the request to build community ballfields for the district and/or city.
  3. Turn the property over to a group as Skeans had a request from the youth football league to have the property. Skeans opposed this idea stating “we all know how these organizations change every year.”


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The board hired Jennifer Brown and Rob Macias for 2013 summer school teachers. Brown will teach Consumer’s Education and Drivers Education while Macias will teach Drivers Education. The board went on to approve the honorable dismissal of educational support personnel. “This is something we do every year, most of the time we hire them all back,” Skeans added.

The board went on to employee Penny Feely for summer food service position with Janice Hammann backing her up. The district also hired Nick Schoen as a bus mechanic/driver.

Administrator Updates

Dennis Tiburzi, high school principal, updated the board on happenings at the high school. Tiburzi explained the greenhouse plant sale began Friday, April 19 and PSAE/ACT testing for juniors took place on both April 23 and April 24. Mid-term report cards will be distributed on April 25.

Middle school principal Lori Emmons explained the middle school tested for pre-algebra placement on April 11. Emmons reported she sent home 45 letters requesting permission to admit students into the class. 5 students have to make up the test, but she explained over half the class made the requirement. Emmons also added 5th grade students will have the opportunity to shadow 6th grade students to give them an idea how middle school works.

Angela Turcol, elementary principal, explained teachers are still observing how Carrollton implements reading and transitioning to common core and “everything is pulling together.” Turcol also explained over 125 students and their families attended the Family Literacy Night and 67 students preregistered for kindergarten.

April Bills

Education Fund: $76,367.09
Transportation Fund: $9,515.24
Site & Construction Fund: $906,218.19
Building Fund: $10,178.70
Grand Total: $1,002,279.22

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