School to charge for some bus trips

Thursday, June 12, 2008

When the 2008-09 school year starts in August, students in the Greencastle Community School Corp. will have to pay for at least a portion of their transportation to school-sanctioned trips and events.

"Beginning this fall, all athletic and field trips will be paid for by the groups," Greencastle Schools Superintendent Robert Green told the school board Wednesday night at the board's meeting.

Green said exact fees had not been established, and that he was working with school administrations to come up with ways to raise funds so the burden on the students wouldn't be as heavy.

"Next month we hope to present you with some specifics," Green said. "I've surveyed schools in our part of the state, and about half already charge. The rest indicated that they'd be starting this fall."

Board member Jack Berry said he would like the school's Booster Club involved as details of the transportation fee schedule were hammered out.

"There are going to be kids who are going to struggle to pay this," Berry said.

Board President Mike Dean wanted to make sure all money garnered from trips would go directly into the transportation fund, and Green said that it would.

"When I did the study on this, I went with $4 a gallon," Green said. "I may have low-balled it."

Dean asked Green if he had looked into converting the school's gasoline-powered buses to propane (diesel vehicles cannot be converted).

"I've been looking into it, and it's fairly costly," Green said.

Green also updated the board on the development of a Human Relations/Diversity Committee for the district.

"We've decided it would be best to have one committee serve the entire district," he said. "I've asked all the principals to nominate four parents per building."

The purpose of the committee, Green said, will be to "open lines of communication, dispel rumors and address problems while they are small."

"This will not be a session to come in and complain about a teacher, a principal or a coach," he said.

Green said the first meeting of the committee would likely be held in September.

Teacher Shannon Fritz updated the board on the progress of the high school's Final Exam Opt-Out pilot program, which has been in place for the last three semesters.

The gist of the program is that students with exemplary attendance who are passing their courses can opt out of taking final exams.

Attendance rates at GHS climbed .2 percent since the program was launched. Fritz asked for another semester to gather data related to the program, and the board unanimously approved her request.

Also at the meeting, retiring staff members Pat Gauly, Ken Mitchell, Melba Thomas, Matt Huber and Virginia Trout were recognized, as were retiring board members Barry Fisher and Mark Kannowski.

Green announced that Kelly Lewis would take Fisher's place on the board effective July 1.

New hires approved at the meeting included eighth grade teacher Dan Layton, computer and middle school media center instructional assistant Stacy Robinson, Tzouanakis computer lab assistant Celeste Perry, Tzouanakis special education instructional assistant Brenda Beams and Tzouanakis fifth grade teacher Jennifer McComish.

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  • I already pay enough for books and in taxes I should not have to pay extra for gasoline in buses! There needs to be fundraisers set up, bake sales, whatever, even ask local churches if they could maybe set up fundraisers to help raise funds. There are a lot of people that probably can't afford to pay this and if they don't are their children going to be left out if they can't pay? With gas the way it is and every food item rising daily it is hard enough for some people to get by let alone pay extra when our books are already sky high!

    -- Posted by HelloMcFly on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 8:31 AM
  • Do these "groups" also have to pay for the driver? Or is it just the fuel? I certainly appreciate what Mr. Green is attempting to do, although I must point out that roughly 80% of our property taxes go to our schools. Also add in that our schools are one of the few school systems that charge a "book rental" fee. Families are facing higher costs in almost every service they use, to include of course gas, food, utilities, taxes, insurance, but to name a few. Our cost of living has increased dramatically over the last year without a reflective increase in wages.

    Maybe it is time for schools to look at cutting costs. I have a suggestion. How about doing away with sports entirely. I know this seems radical, but look at the money saved that we could put back into educating our children, which is supposed to be the primary purpose of our schools.

    Here are some simple examples of where the money would be saved: No more coaches salaries to coach sports, equipment costs, upkeep of the athletic fields, referee costs, travel costs, insurance savings, electricity savings, water and sewage savings. These examples are not only considering the actual games, I am including the savings gathered for practice times as well.

    Like it or not, of which I do not, we have become a society that puts more emphasis on sports than we do education. Look at what we pay college coaches verses what we pay college professors.

    My resolution is to put ALL of the cost associated with playing sports on the family of the child playing the sport. Sounds harsh, but why should we all pay tens of thousands of dollars every year for activities not associated with EDUCATION?

    -- Posted by Whynotwrite on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 10:10 AM

    -- Posted by what_it's_worth on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 10:14 AM
  • Good idea "Whynotwrite!"

    Also here's another one they can delete,get rid of all 3rd shift custodians.There's no one there in the schools during the graveyard shift. That would save them money as well. Oh Wait! They're more worried about taking our money and doing what they want with theirs.

    -- Posted by what_it's_worth on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 10:21 AM
  • It's about time. Everybody wants a free ride. Too bad. Cheers to the school board.

    -- Posted by concerned19 on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 11:27 AM

    You most likely were not a very good athlete. It really doesn't matter if you were or were not. Sports are part of many students education. Every job I have worked has stressed the importance of TEAM work! In English, math, or geography, if we participated as a team, they usually called it CHEATING!!!!!

    -- Posted by Insane Due to Society on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 1:36 PM
  • Sports are very important to kids that play them just like anyone that has an interest in something. Would it be feasible to suggest that the athletes ride to the away games with their parents to cut down on cost. Most parents go to the games to watch their kids. I wouldn't mind taking mine to help keep cost down. We need to come up with solutions instead of defining what is more important.

    -- Posted by familycounts on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 2:21 PM
  • I think it's a good idea ,for All trips. While the school board is making changes lets cut back on athletic events. Think about cutting 1 game from every sport!How about school unifroms,too!

    -- Posted by Blue6 on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 5:56 PM
  • Mr. Green's solution is reasonable in asking students to pay for transportation. But what about getting local business to sponser teams and other activities. Great advertising potential as well as offering help to students... Just think..The York Football Team or the Dixie Chopper Basketball Team...

    -- Posted by Erasmus on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 7:13 PM
  • You know everything is getting out of hand with the price of fuel. Be thankful that you go to a school corporation where the money you spend in this town goes towards your school. I live in this area (closer to Walmart than most readers), but our kids go to SPHS, and we have no taxes brought in from stores or companies other than Dixie Chopper. Guess who is paying all the taxes for our kids? Homeowners. Yet we still spend our money at Walmart, Kroger, CVS, Citgo, Taco Bell, and even bank in town. Yet the state says we can not recieve any property taxes from within the towns limits only what is in our district. So please feel blessed that you have a greater advantage than some schools.

    What about cutting back to a four day school week? I know the cost savings would be great for all schools. I believe if you checked into it the savings on fuel for regular school day transportation would be worth looking into.

    We must all realize that everyone is hurting in these times, upper class, middle class, and lower class citizens. The economy is effecting everyone. I have children who are very active in sports, church, and work a great deal on our farm. Fuel is changing the way we prioritize things and the thing is I am finding that staying home more, gives me more time with my kids and in a blink of an eye they will be grown.

    There are solutions you just have to all work together to try to find it, without thowing out words that only hinder your process. I wish you all the best of luck, and please remember that being on a school board is not an easy job, or a popular one.

    They do it because they want to make things better for your school.

    -- Posted by onetwomany97 on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 10:54 PM
  • To: Insane Due to Society,

    Actually, I was a very good athlete at GHS back in the '80's. Which is absolutley irrelevant. What we are talking about here is the education of our children. Our local "appointed" school board members are now looking at ways of stretching money to support extracircular acitivities. My point is to focus more monies into the classroom into educating our children preparing them for tomorrow. By doing away with spending money on athletics, we could put thousands of dollars into developing skills into our children that benefits them throughout their lifetime. Sure I love to still play sports today, although my education is what supports me and my entire family.

    I would have trouble believing that anyone who reads my short thought would place athletics ahead of classroom education. Again, nobody can justify to me a college coaches salary of 3 million a year compared to a college professor salary of 90 thousand. This is the unfortunate reality of the society we have all created.

    -- Posted by Whynotwrite on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 10:44 AM
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