April 24, 2014

Medina
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36°F

Buses bought for routes returning to Medina Schools

MEDINA — Medina school board members agreed Tuesday to purchase 11 new buses for $865,709.

The district plans to purchase another 11 buses for the same amount in July with the start of a new fiscal year.

The buses will be purchased with capital funds the district gets from sales taxes, board members said at a meeting Tuesday night. The district accepted the lowest of the three bids they received.

“I know it’s a huge amount, but we’re looking forward to having these buses in our fleet,” Superintendent Dave Knight said. “These buses are part of bringing back busing for students who live more than a mile away.”

School officials promised to restore busing if a new levy was passed.

Voters approved a 5.9-mill, five-year levy in November.

School board President Tom Cahalan said 12 of the buses will replace old and outdated buses that the school will trade in. The remaining 10 buses will be used to accommodate new school routes because the district plans to offer bus routes to all Medina students who live at least a mile away from their school.

The school will have to hire between 25 and 30 bus drivers for the new routes, which will serve more than 2,800 students. The cost of hiring new drivers will be $900,000. The drivers will be paid with funds the district will get from the new levy.

At Tuesday’s meeting, board members also learned about curriculum plans for the six new teachers the district plans to hire at the middle-school level.

Kris Quallich, director of educational services for the district, said three teachers will be hired at each middle school. The district will offer two elective foreign language classes next year — one at the sixth-grade and one at the eighth-grade level.

The district also plans to introduce a computer programming class at the eighth-grade level and a digital media course for sixth-graders.

At the seventh-grade level, students will have the option to take a course in adolescent psychology to learn about the emotional changes and issues teens face as they enter puberty.

The course will tackle bullying and suicide prevention. Quallich said it will compliment the health courses students are required to take in seventh grade. She said staff surveyed students about what courses they wanted, and there were a number of students who said they wanted to know more about the teenage state of mind.

“This was a course students asked for,” Quallich said. “They said they wanted to know more about the emotional changes at puberty.”

Quallich said the course offerings are part of a plan to restore curriculum offerings throughout the district following the passage of November’s levy. Five new teachers will be hired at the high-school level to teach new curriculum offerings and elementary schools will hire new counselors and return a reading intervention specialist at each elementary school.

“It’s really a big difference for our students and we’re so thankful to the community for giving us this opportunity,” Quallich said.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.