The Madison-Plains Local School District is in desperate need of substitute bus drivers.
To get the wheels rolling, interim superintendent Boone Hall suggested the district pick up the cost of training—a $300-per-person expense that prospective drivers normally pay themselves.
"I think it would help us. It’s not going to solve the problem," Hall told the board of education at their monthly meeting on Sept. 18 at Madison-Plains High School.
Board President Linda Blankenship, formerly a transportation supervisor for the district, attested to how difficult it is to attract a sufficient number of bus drivers. She and the rest of the board supported Hall’s plan to have the district pay for training, which is conducted by drivers already on staff.
With the plan, the district runs the risk of investing $300 in an individual who may not stay in the job a long time. In taking the risk, Blankenship suggested the administration and board periodically assess the idea’s success.
In the board’s work session, board member Don Swonger stressed the need for increased communication with residents of the school district. He suggested the district produce and mail a monthly newsletter filled with photos and short stories about happenings in the district.
"Very few people come to (board) meetings. The ones who do are already sold on the district," Swonger said, hence his suggestion to take the news to the residents.
While the other board members liked the idea, they raised questions about cost and feasibility. Hall said the project would be a big job for an already busy staff.
Madeline Holt, principal at Midway Elementary, suggested a less frequent publication, possibly a quarterly newsletter that goes out with grade cards every nine weeks.
Trish Passwaters, Madison-Plains’ special education coordinator, suggested making it a project for gifted students at the elementary and junior high and for journalism students at the high school.
Treasurer Scott Hiles suggested increasing the news postings on the district’s Web site.
Blankenship asked Hall and Hiles to research the various possibilities for a communication piece, how to get the work done, and the related costs.
Board member Sherry Kuehnle, who co-chairs the levy campaign committee with board member Ken Morlock, said she’d like to see the first piece come out in October and include levy information pertaining to the Nov. 6 election.
An anonymous donor contributed $1,227 to Mount Sterling Elementary to purchase a Smart Board.
The Columbus Foundation donated $564.37 to the high school music department to be split evenly between the choral department and the band department.
High School FFA students will attend the National FFA Convention on Oct. 24 in Indianapolis.
On the Nov. 6 ballot, Madison-Plains is asking voters to renew two levies, a 2.5-mill, five-year permanent improvement levy and an 8.0-mill, three-year levy for current expenses. Neither levy represents new taxes for the district. The levy campaign committee’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at Midway Fire House. Volunteers are needed.
The Madison Rural Elementary PTO will meet at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1. The Mount Sterling PTO will meet at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8.
The next regular meeting of the school board is 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Mount Sterling Elementary.