School board follows precedent, says ‘no’ to soccer transportation

After much discussion the Greene County Schools board of education declined to approve transportation to the shared girls soccer program in Boone. The proposal would have cost the district nothing but would have increased the district’s exposure to risk.

The board followed a precedent set last November in denying transportation to a program in another district.

Parents made the request, noting that with nine girls playing soccer in Boone, two vehicles are needed to transport them each day. They’re taking turns with the driving, but to increase efficiency, they asked a local church if they could borrow a van large enough to transport the girls with one parent driver rather than two. The church was willing to lend the van, but only if the school board approved the plan.

Scott Weber, the school’s agent with EMC Insurance, said the district’s umbrella policy covers any vehicle that’s used to transport students. The school would have been liable for any injuries sustained in an accident, and if the driver were found at-fault, there would be the potential for the district’s rates to increase.

New board member Steve Fisher said that since the board had approved the sharing agreement with Boone for girls soccer, the district should also approve the transportation plan.

Veteran board member Sam Harding said the sharing agreement is explicit in not including transportation and that there be no cost to the district. Teresa Hagen reminded the board that they had denied a request last November from parents of girls swimming in Boone because they had earlier in the year discontinued sports shuttles to and from Scranton, Rippey and Grand Junction as a cost saver. The swim parents had asked the school to provide a driver and vehicle.

Harding made a motion to deny the parents’ request; the motion was seconded by Mark Peters. Board members voted 6-1 to approve the motion, with Fisher casting the dissenting vote. It was his first vote as a school board member.

The board approved for the 2017-18 school year shared positions in place during the current year. The district shares 20 percent of curriculum director Karen Sandberg’s contract with LuVerne; 20 percent of media specialist Jenny Fisher’s contract with Paton-Churdan and another 5 percent with Ogden; and 20 percent of English language learner teacher Denise Carpenter’s contract with South Central Calhoun.

The board heard proposals for possible advertising from Raccoon Valley Radio, the Bee and Herald, and GreeneCountyNewsOnline. Superintendent Tim Christensen shared a written proposal from The Scranton Journal.

Funding for advertising would come from the board’s budget line item, not the general fund. After discussion, the board directed Christensen to develop a budget for the April meeting that would include a blend of newspaper, online and radio advertising. School staff will also work to provide more “positive” messages to the media in hopes they will be shared with the public.

Christensen clarified that it had never been his intention to hire a public relations consultant.

 

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