Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

New London readies for school year with new bus route

Aug 22, 2017

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


The New London School District is testing new bus routes that will reduce morning buses from four to three.

The routes are mapped out to get all students on the bus and dropped at the school doors in no more than an hour. Buses could arrive as early as 6:50 a.m. at some stops, according to district superintendent Chad Wahls.

“We’re not trying to punish kids or parents or get them up at the crack of dawn,” Wahls said during a board of directors meeting on Aug. 21.

Board member Jesse Howard raised concern that an hour is a long time for kids to sit on a bus. “I would hate to see kids kept on a bus even longer than they have to,” he said.

Porter recommended implementing a mobile app that would track buses because of complaints of buses being early or late to stops. Howard said that buses running early or late is one of the biggest complaints from rural families.

Jerry Wilhelm, who had been a regular driver last year, will not be returning as a bus driver. Wilhelm had been retired, but returned as a bus driver for about five years.

As the school year gets underway, the board of directors will evaluate the efficiency of the bus route and keep it on their agenda for their next meeting.

During the meeting, Chad Wahls proposed a change in the early retirement policy that would include non-certified staff. Currently, the policy states that certified teachers can retire with 15 years of service. Wahls took a look at other district’s early retirement policies, such as having a 55-years-old minimum before early retirement can go into effect. He wants the policy to include administration, buildings and grounds crew, custodial employees and kitchen staff.

“It should cover everyone who works in this building,” Howard agreed.

Early retirement for certified teachers last year allowed the New London School District to hire new and part-time teachers. Wahls said that this is a savings deal for the district, offering lower salaries to new teachers and not providing benefits for part-time staff.

“We were able to (save money) this year with retirements, otherwise we would have been possibly laying some people off,” Wahls said.

Wahls is going to rewrite the early retirement policy and present it to the board for approval in their next session.

Activities Director Chris Selby, Elementary Principal Todd Palmatier, and Middle and High School Principal Scott Kracht made presentations to the board during the regular meeting.

Selby said that Meet The Players on Friday, Aug. 18, was a success, with football, volleyball and cross-country presented. A meal was served for the first time out of the new concessions stand in the athletic complex.

Palmatier said that enrollment numbers look good, with more kindergartners enrolled than outgoing seniors. There are currently 260 prekindergarten through fifth-grade students.

Open house for students in the middle and high school is Tuesday, Aug. 22.

There is currently an opening for a new Family and Consumer Science teacher. Wahls has discussed sharing a teacher with Danville; however, there is a candidate who they are looking to hire part-time. The position closes on Wednesday, Aug. 23.

The board approved seven new personnel: Paula Bliven and Luann Martin, TLC funded mentor teachers; Patrice Williams, special education associate; Tara Schulte, part-time special education associate; Gina McSorley, middle school volleyball coach; Ben Fry, volunteer high school football coach; and Brad Helmerson, volunteer high school football coach.

School Board Elections are Sept. 12.

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