Children living in the subdivisions of Willow Glen and Carriage Hills in Hillsboro will have the option to return home after school on an existing USD 410 route.
That’s the decision reached by the board of education at the conclusion of its regular meeting Sept. 11.
Willow Glen resident Miranda Reed, who spoke on behalf other residents attending the meeting, presented a case for having an after-school drop off for their children. She said while parents can take their students to school, picking them up in the afternoon “provides challenges.”
Safety is a primary concern about them walking home, Reed said.
Because there are no sidewalks to the Willow Glen homes, she said children have to cross South Ash Street, which is heavily traveled with a 45 mph speed limit at that neighborhood.
She also said a district bus, which currently is not full, drives directly by the neighborhood, so bringing the children to Willow Glen would not incur added expenses to the district.
Karen Goossen, USD 410 transportation director, agreed this particular bus has available seats, although the number may vary depending on after-school activities.
Keith Goossen, maintenance director, reviewed the district’s history of in-town busing, which was begun to alleviate congestion at Hillsboro Elementary School but discontinued in 2008 as a cost-saving measure.
While sympathetic about the situation for Willow Glen families, Superintendent Max Heinrichs said he is also concerned about other children who have to cross Ash Street when walking home from school.
Heinrichs said the district would need two additional drivers to service a potential 76 children for in-town busing.
While ads for those positions have been posted, Heinrichs said no one has applied or expressed interest.
After further discussion, the board agreed students in Willow Glen and Carriage Hills face a unique set of circumstances and concluded those students can ride the east bus home on a trial basis.
“It’s nice if we can get them off the streets,” said board member Rod Koons.
To maintain its current schedule, the bus will follow the normal route after school and then drop off children from Willow Glen and Carriage Hills at the end.
“If that’s the direction you want me to go, that’s what I’ll do,” Heinrichs said, adding that he would notify parents when that option will begin.
Building administrators provided quarterly reports to the board.
Clint Corby, middle/high school principal, reported overall enrollment is up slightly and extra-curricular participation is good.
“We have a huge choir number this year,” Corby said.
He also said he’s working to highlight homecoming as a memorable event, including a career-cruising kick-off skit.
Evan Yoder, elementary school principal, reported that enrollment also is up slightly this year, and that the walking school bus has started. He said he’s pleased with the new teachers who are on board this year, adding that children also have begun doing their chores for the school farm.
Heinrichs reported that an estimated 95 percent of the student body is involved in at least one extra-curricular activity. While he had specific numbers for football, volleyball and cross country, Heinrichs said he would bring the fine arts numbers to the next meeting.
In other business, the board:
• approved funding an estimated $3,300 for two teachers to attend Project Lead the Way 2017 National Summit in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 22-25.
Heinrichs said he hadn’t chosen the teachers yet.
• discussed recommendations from the P1 Investment Grade Audit. Heinrichs said he would bring a list of priorities and costs to the next meeting.
• approved the resignations of Milk Jilka as assistant track coach, Glen Ratzlaff as HMS girls’ basketball coach and Jeannie Harsin as HMHS Media Center coordinator.
• approved classified staff hire of Janet Whisenhunt as HMHS Media Center coordinator at $12.9 per hour.
• approved supplemental contracts for Jill Hein as GAP assistant, Tricia Williamson as drama assistant at HMHS, Lenna Knoll as district wellness coordinator and Jesse Allen as CTE club sponsor.
• heard reports from President Mark Rooker about TEEN and Joe Sechrist about MCSEC.
• scheduled its annual goal-setting meeting for Oct. 9, which will begin at 6 p.m. Heinrichs said he would arrange for a facilitator for the meeting.
Board member Kim Klein participated in the meeting via conference call, while board member Tim Kaufman was absent.