(Posted Jan. 10, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
With safety and efficiency in mind, London City Schools is changing and upgrading some of its transportation systems.
At London Elementary, new morning drop-off/arrival and afternoon pick-up/dismissal procedures went into effect on Jan. 4. First up was a traffic pattern change. The lane running parallel to Elm Street and directly in front of the school is now designated for two-way traffic.
Previously, parents driving their children to school would park in front of the building and walk their children to the front door. Oftentimes, they were doubleparked. This caused congestion and safety concerns.
Now, drop-offs take place in the playground parking lot. Drivers pull into designated drop-off zones. School staff members then greet the students and help them get out of the car and into the school building. For this new procedure, drivers enter from Elm Street and exit onto Keny Boulevard. They remain in their cars the whole time and follow the flow of traffic in a single-file line.
“Arrivals have gone extremely well,” said Dr. Lou Kramer, London City Schools superintendent. “It’s safer and more welcoming.”
He said the transition to the new pick-up procedure has proven to be “a little bit more of a challenge.”
With the new set-up, drivers line up in the playground parking lot, in front of designated cones, no earlier than 3 p.m. Staff members walk children to the cars. Each student’s name is written on a card that is placed in front of their respective driver’s car. The driver stays in the car the entire time and follows the flow of traffic in a single-file line. Pick-up times are no longer staggered based on grade levels. Drivers can pick up their students, no matter the grade level, at the same time.
The school’s 1,100 students, 100 staff members, and parents are working to learn and adapt to the new procedure. The overall time involved in pick-up/dismissal improved by 12 minutes from the first day with the new system to the second day, Kramer said.
“A lot of patience is needed by everyone as we make the change,” he said.
Preschool pick-up and drop-off now takes place in front of the elementary building. Parents park in the lot located in front of the school and walk their children to the building using the crosswalk. Preschool staff members meet parents and children at the front door.
Kramer praised the school staff for their efforts to make all of the transitions as smooth as possible. He also thanked the London Police Department for their assistance.
School leaders also are looking at purchasing new transportation routing software to improve bus timing across the district. The software costs $20,000. Annual licensing fees are $1,400 to $1,500.
Kramer said that while it would be a “sizeable investment,” the new software should pay for itself in increased efficiencies. He plans to present a proposal for approval at the school board meeting in February.
At the board’s Jan. 9 meeting, Darryl Brown retained his seat as board president for another year. Jonathan Stahl was named vice president. Newly elected board member Donovan Cooper will represent the board at this year’s Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) annual conference; Brown is the alternate. Ed Maynor will once again serve as the board’s OSBA legislative liaison.
Board committee assignments for the year are: Stahl, London Community Foundation; Marvin Homan, tax abatement committee; Brown and Maynor, London City Schools Foundation Board; Cooper, London City Business Advisory Council; Homan and Stahl, finance, buildings and grounds committee; and Cooper, OSBA Central Region Chapter.
The board approved its meeting schedule for 2018. Meetings take place at 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month, with some exceptions, in the high school lecture hall (Room 311). The dates are: Feb. 13, March 13, April 17, May 8, June 12, July 17, Aug. 7, Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 6 and Dec. 11.