Sharing bus services saves school district

LISBON – The school board’s decision to join with three other districts to share bus services will begin paying dividends immediately, according to Jennifer Durno.

She is the transportation director for the Columbiana County Educational Service Center, which is the lead agency in coordinating the shared service, which involves the ESC, Lisbon, the county Board of Development Disabilities (BDD) and the Beaver Local school district.

The most immediate savings comes from sharing the cost of a transportation supervisor and bus dispatching services. In addition, Durno said by sharing services and routes with the other participants Lisbon has been able to go from six bus routes to five, saving on bus, fuel and driver expenses. This is made possible by some students riding in a bus other than one from their district, which required keeping their parents informed of the changes.

“The service doesn’t change. It’s just a different bus,” she said.

Besides consolidating routes, sharing bus services allowed them to reduce riding time in some instances. For example, Durno said the drive time for a route with special education riders was reduced from 90 minutes to 60 minutes because they were able to piggyback onto another district’s route.

“I think once other districts see there is a cost savings … I would think you’re going to see a lot more interest,” she said.

In other action, the school board:

– Established daily substitute teacher pay rates for the year: $80 for substitute teachers employed one to 59 days; $90 for 60 to 90 days; and $100 if employed 100 or more days. The rates were unchanged from last year.

– Accepted Aaron Bowles as a band volunteer.

– Hired Radi-O-Sound Communications Inc. of Salem to perform the fire alarm testing at the schools for a combined cost of $1,851.

– Renewed the contract with East Liverpool City Hospital for athletic training services for $6,000, which is an increase of $1,100, with the athletic department paying the expense. “We didn’t feel it was worth it to cut costs when it involves kids,” Superintendent Joe Siefke said.

– Hired Lynn Grove as a contract employee to provide tutoring assistance and related help to students who are struggling academically. He is to be paid $205 a day, with the money coming from federal funding received by the district.

– Accepted the resignation of janitor John Less due to health problems. He had worked the 3-11 p.m. shift at McKinley Elementary school.

-Hired Cathy Wilkes as a bus driver.

-Agreed to pay the Gardiner company to install a chiller display system as part of the district’s air conditioner system for $3,946.

The board’s next meeting is 5 p.m. Sept. 10.