BOE: Addition of bus due to levy passage

CALCUTTA — The purchase of a new school bus to improve Beaver Local’s fleet wouldn’t be possible without the passage of the district’s emergency operating levy, according to school officials.

During Monday’s Board of Education meeting, the board approved the purchase of a new 2018 71-passenger school bus through Truck Sales and Service Inc. of Midvale, at a cost of $76,228 through the Ohio Mid-Eastern Regional Education Service Agency (OME-RESA) purchasing consortium.

Board vice president Jerry Barnett said the purchase is a “a good way to show” the importance of the district’s 4.721-mill operations levy renewal, which will be decided by voters on the Nov. 6 general election.

Barnett said the new bus will also include cameras and winter chains for the snow. It replaces one of two older 2003 buses, one of which currently has a blown engine and needs $13,000 in repairs, while the other has been deemed unusable because of its constant deterioration over the years.

“Because we have this money from the levy and the taxpayers, we’re able to provide these type of services to the kids without it being a hardship to the district, and that’s very much appreciated,” Barnett said.

Board member Patrick Clutter and president Bill Croxall also commented on the importance of being part of the OME-RESA consortium, with Clutter commenting on the savings of the purchases, while Croxall said it was recommended three years ago by then-interim superintendent Lou Ramunno, and has worked out well for the district.

“I had just realized that the list price of the bus is $184,000,” Clutter said. “With our allowance, trade and everything else, we’re paying $76,000 for this bus. So it’s not like the board is just going out willy-nilly and spending a bunch of cash. This is a tremendous deal, less than half-price, 40 percent of what the list price is.”

“It seems like we’re going to buy two, and then two, and then one, and then two, that way we’ll be turning over our fleet and we won’t be spending big bucks on repairs so much like we had in the past,” Croxall said. “We did have that crisis a couple three years ago with buses in the fall, and it seems like that’s getting all straightened up.”

As for the levy, if approved, it will provide an annual income of $1.2 million for the district, which will go toward day-to-day operations including maintenance, upkeep and salaries for teachers.

Also approved by the board Monday was a bid from Pancake Lawn Care for snow/ice removal during the current school year at a cost of $800 per service if snowfall on school property amounts to three inches or less. For more than three inches, the cost will be $865, while salt only will cost $175.

Meanwhile, the board also approved the resolution regarding St. Clair Township’s Tax Increment Fund (TIF) district, which will allow the township to handle any cleanup efforts in one of the two TIFs the township holds.

TIF District I started in 1999 as an agreement between the township to which a portion of real estate taxes is diverted to the township to handle infrastructure projects, with TIF I related to McGuffey Drive.

Last month, Trustee James Sabatini informed school officials that debt service was done on McGuffey and paid through TIF money. The TIF — set to expire Aug. 31, 2019 — is anticipated to be paid off by this month, as Sabatini said the township had aggressively attempted to pay off the debt in a timely fashion so that the township can handle the clean-up efforts, but needed the school board’s approval.

Once it ends, the township is expected to receive about $85,000 annually.

In other business:

— The board approved a field trip for the high school’s Science Club to a visit to Tampa, Fla., for June 3-6, 2019. The trip will give students a chance to learn biology outside of the classroom, with planned activities such as swimming with manatees, snorkeling, kayaking through mangroves, a squid dissection and a visit to Busch Gardens.

— The board also approved the first reading of three updated policies through the North East Ohio Leadership Association (NEOLA), to which those policies were regarding criminal history record checks, drug and alcohol testing of CDL license holders and other employees who perform safety-sensitive functions, and graduation requirements.

— In financial matters, the board approved a line item transfer of $62,282 from the general fund to the capital improvement fund.

— In personnel matters, the board approved a Family Medical Leave Act request for Veronica Hall, due to a personal illness; the addition of Vickie Bock as a substitute cook for the school year; and the resignation of bus driver Shana Lawrence, effective Sept. 24. In addition, the board also approved an additional list of 36 volunteers for the district.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 12.