Goessel board reviews transportation

The Goessel school board discussed bus transportation at its April 10 meeting. Bus drivers Jim Schmidt, Larry Lindeman, Morris Ewert, and Diana Schmidt attended the meeting. Schmidt is director of transportation.

Superintendent John Fast and Schmidt presented information to the board. They reviewed each route bus and each sub bus that the school district owns—the year, mileage, condition and how many passengers each one can transport.

Fast also reviewed the school’s van that transports students to Oasis. He said the driver’s education car is also used by staff. He also reviewed the vehicles that are used to transport smaller groups of students when a big bus is not necessary. He said the mini bus is used on almost a daily basis.

The school also owns two pickups; Fast said they are greatly appreciated by maintenance staff. The 2001 Dodge 4×4 can be converted to a snow-removal vehicle in winter because a snow blade can be mounted on it. It has also been used to pull a bus out of the mud. The 1995 Ford pickup has a lift gate, which is “exceedingly handy,” Fast said.

Road conditions also were discussed. Some roads in Marion County are not maintained adequately. The school has called the county numerous times to ask for rock.

“It is a real challenge getting our buses through some areas,” Fast said.

He showed the board a map of the school district, with a pin for every household where a bus picks up students. He pointed out specific routes that look reasonable on the map, but he noted road conditions in those areas and showed mud routes that have to be used when certain roads are impassable, noting that means buses have to go miles out of their way.

On muddy days, when the bus has to use a mud route, some students get on the bus as early as 6:35 a.m. In spite of using mud routes, buses had to be pulled out of the mud three times in the fall because even the roads that cannot be avoided are not adequately rocked.

Schmidt told the board that monthly safety meetings are required for school bus drivers. She covers topics such as driving in snow, ice, fog and spring storms. The bus drivers also talk about possible bus evacuation in situations such as downed power lines, railroad crossings, loading and unloading safety, student discipline and driver safety.

Board president Dan Miller thanked the bus drivers for their safety and expertise in transporting students.

“We are grateful for our bus drivers” and their service, he said. Fast noted the importance of the bus drivers, reminding the board that many of the district’s students begin and end the school day with a bus driver.

Other business

In other business, the board:

• heard that 31 out-of-district students have applied to come to Goessel schools next school year.

• approved an agriculture education teaching contract for Alicia Oard. She will also be the FFA sponsor and assistant cheerleading coach.

• approved Brooke Holloway as assistant high school girls’ basketball coach.

• approved the resignation of Jacob Gouvion as assistant high school football coach. Scott Boden, junior high and high school principal, said Gouvion will be getting married soon and is continuing to work on his degree.

• approved the resignation of Suzanne Meier as junior class sponsor.

• talked about the future of The Learning Consor­tium. In addition to Goessel, the other schools in the consortium are Moundridge, Hesston and Canton-Galva. The board also talked about the fiber optic cable that is owned by TLC.

• noted that some classroom speakers and intercoms don’t work. Boden said the high school’s system is a 1970s system.

• talked about the uncertainty of school funding.

• noted gym areas that do not have adequate lighting, especially in the junior high gym. The inefficiency of the lighting in both gyms was also noted. Consequently, the board approved a lighting proposal for $15,648 from maintenance director Ben Schmidt for new lighting in the junior high gym and the high school gym.

Once the lighting is in use, the expectation is that it will provide $1,600 a year of savings to the school district, while at the same time increasing the amount of light in each gym. It is hoped the new lighting can be completed before the gym floor is refinished.

• heard that elementary school students would be going to watch the Shrine Circus in Wichita on April 21. The trip will be paid for with earnings from box tops.

• noted that the elementary school art show is scheduled for April 28.

• heard that golf and track activities have begun. Boden said 16 students are participating in high school golf, 27 in high school track, and 44 in junior high track.

• heard that students have done well in recent forensics and art contests.

• approved out-of-state travel for the eighth-grade class. They are planning a trip to the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City, Mo., and the state capitol in Topeka.

• heard that the state has had some network issues that have disrupted testing.

• heard that eighth-grade through junior class students had participated in a “career cruising” day, which helped them develop “individual plans of study.”

• noted that filing for board election must be done by June 1.