Many children already walk to school in Greencastle, but many more could join that healthier alternative to riding the bus through a new type of "busing" program.
The Walking School Bus has received the approval of the Greencastle School Board, which will participate in the development of the program as part of a healthier schools initiative.
People Pathways organizer Joy Marley first presented the program to the school board in July, and on Wednesday, school nurse Kathy Custis told school board members Michael Dean, Jack Berry, Barry Fisher, Mark Kannowski and Barbara Bryan that the project will fit in well with the healthy schools project.
A walking school bus involves trained adult volunteers who walk with children along designated routes to make sure the children get to school safely.
The neighborhoods around Tzouanakis Intermediate School and Deer Meadow Primary School will be targeted first as the program is developed, Marley said. The community's People Pathways program will be expanded in the future to include a new trail that connects the Albin Pond Road area to the existing pathway network that runs past the middle school and high school.
As it becomes established, the walking school bus program can be expanded around the city.
The board agreed that the program will be a work in progress, with volunteer parents to be trained as "drivers" and the routes to be established. It is also unknown how the actual bus routes will be affected, or how winter weather will play into the project once it becomes too cold, hazardous or unpleasant for the walking routes.
Meanwhile, Marley also noted that the recent Walking for Wellness program that encouraged people to exercise regularly in the community will be "rebooted" with a Family Health and Fitness Day, set for Sept. 22 at Deer Meadow Primary School.
More information on that program will be announced soon.
Also, in the monthly financial report, the board learned that only a portion of the June property tax draw has been received. The majority of it has not been received.
Supt. Green reported that General Fund is very healthy at $2.4 million. But the Debt Service Fund is showing a deficit of $481,000 due to recent payments projects. The Capital Projects Fund has a negative balance of $613,000. The School Bus Replacement Fund is also in the red at $44,589.84.
However, the Construction Fund is in the positive at $401,000.
With the final property tax draw, hopefully to be collected in the next few weeks, all accounts will go into the black, Green said.
Looking at the bank statement, the school system had a balance of $2.8 million at the end of July.
In personnel matters, the board approved the following items:
* The resignation of Matthew Taylor as middle school assistant principal.
* The hiring of Michael Culver as middle school assistant principal.
* The resignation of Sara Bright as instructional assistant for special needs student.
* The resignation of Judy Neel as regular route bus driver.
* The resignation of Chris Skillern as instructional assistant for the high school resource room.
* The transfer of Destry Fauvergue from computer lab/instructional assistant at Tzouanakis to secretary to the athletic director.
* Appointing Matt McComish as high school varsity wrestling coach, Garry Anderson as high school girls cross country and track coach, Mike Schimpf as high school boys cross country coach, and Randy Cooper and Matt McComish as high school assistant varsity football coach.
* Rehiring Charlene Shrewsbury as lay coach for the high school dance team.
* Reapproving Russell Evans, Vicki Evans, Jeff McCinney and Jennifer Evans as high school volunteer lay coach for the color guard.
* Rehiring Michael Glenn as instructional assistant at the middle school.
* Approving Jacob page as high school volunteer lay coach for football.
* Hiring Tina Grzesiek as computer lab/instructional assistant at Tzouankis.
* Approving Kathy Sibbitt and Patty Hutson as summer school instructional assistants.
* Reapproving Laura McMasters as high school volunteer assistant cross country coach.
* Hiring Lori Lamb as high school study hall monitor.
* Hiring Frank "Chip" Kessler II as freshman football lay coach; Larry Vaughan as middle school cross country and track lay coach; Nate Martin and Jim Cath as high school assistant soccer lay coach; Joanna McKee as volunteer lay coach for soccer; Vicki McCammack as athletic trainer; and Camile Deuser and Katherine Dalin as middle school volleyball coaches.
* Hiring Patricia Mollet as kindergarten instructional assistant at Deer Meadow and Ridpath; Joy Mackey as cafeteria assistant at the middle school; and Stacy Robinson as instructional assistant at the middle school.
* The transfer of Mandy Haddon as noon aide to cafeteria assistant at Deer Meadow.
In other business, the board:
* Heard a presentation on a card access system with video monitors for the doors to the schools and McAnally Center.
* Appointed Supt. Green, Nancy Marlow and Rosie O'Neal as agents for the Public Employees Retirement Fund.
* Learned that the high school renovation project should be cleaned up in time for teachers to move back into the school on Monday.
The Greencastle School Board regularly meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Miller Education Center, 522 Anderson St. The August meeting was conducted at the high school so the board could tour the facility following the meeting.