for WWII vets, busses, school funding, highlights of meeting
At their Dec. 11 meeting, Yellow Springs Board of Education members urged
the public to write their state legislators in support of a recent Ohio
Supreme Court decision that calls the current system for funding Ohio
public schools unconstitutional.
In response to that decision, Gov. Bob Taft has said the current funding
system does not need overhaul.
But members of the Yellow Springs School Board disagree with the governor.
We are being given the short end of the stick and our taxpayers
need to know that, said School Board member Bill Firestone. We
need more angry people to contact legislators.
The current system allocates school funding based on a percentage determined
by the relative size and wealth of the schools community. Although
Gov. Taft has said that Ohio schools are allotted $4,900 per student,
in Yellow Springs, schools are only allotted $1,600 per student, said
Superintendent Tony Armocida. Currently, only 17 percent of the districts
budget comes from state funding sources, said Armocida. Because of this
the district has asked the community for funding to support it through
levies and bond issues, Armocida said.
Our kids deserve their fair share of state funding, said Armocida.
The board is urging people to ask their state legislators to do
what the court said, to overhaul the system, Firestone said.
* * *
In other school board business:
The board approved the purchase of a new school bus, a 72-seat
Thomas/Freightliner bus, for $57,975. The bus will replace an older bus
that has been experiencing mechanical failures. However, that bus will
continue to be used as a spare, said Armocida.
The Thomas/Freightliner model is very reliable and less expensive
than some other models, said Armocida.
The bus purchase sparked a conversation between Armocida and board members
about the desirability of seat belts on school busses. Armocida said the
new bus has some seats with belts, but most do not have seat belts. The
bus includes some belts because some parents want their children to wear
the belts on busses, he said.
However, said Armocida, the school busses are not fully equipped with
belts because research has shown that students are safer without belts
than with them. The seats are designed to encapsulate the students, thus
protecting them in an accident, he said.
There is no data that shows that children are safer with seat belts
on busses, he said. In fact, he said, seat belts on school busses usually
end up causing more harm than good.
The board approved 31 the second reading of a state policy
allowing public high schools to award honorary diplomas to veterans who
quit school to serve in the military during World War II.
Board president Rich Bullock and members Angela Wright and Mary Campbell-Zopf
voted for the policy, while Bill Firestone voted against. Board member
Tom Haugsby, who previously stated his opposition to the policy, was absent.
In previous discussions, some board members expressed concern that the
policy sets a precedent of awarding unearned diplomas.
The board approved a new social studies course of study for grades
712. The social studies curriculum was adapted after two and a half
years of study during which middle school and high school teachers considered
local and state standards, Armocida said.
The school construction project continues to go well, said Armocida.
Contractors believe all new construction at the high school will be completed
by March, ahead of schedule, he said. At that time, activities that take
place in classrooms slated for renovation will be moved to the new classrooms
so that the renovation can take place.
At Mills Lawn, construction on the new gym will continue throughout the
winter beneath a plastic tent, he said.
Board members accepted the resignation of YSHS head football coach
Cliff Williams. We thank him for taking on a tough job, Bullock
said, referring to the schools decision this year to play out the
season, even though the team initially consisted of only 15 players.
The board accepted a donation of $500 from the University of Dayton
to the YSHS/McKinney literary magazine, Spectrum. The donation resulted
from the networking efforts of the magazines advisor, YSHS teacher
Carla Steiger-Meister, said Armocida.
The board welcomed ad hoc student representatives Zach Grimm and
Martin Borchers to the board.