Concerns about school buses were brought to the attention of the Hutsonville Unit 1 school board Monday. The board was approached by Jessica Parmenter, whose son is a grade school student and has been a victim of bullying on the school buses. The school currently has five normal route buses with one camera at the front observing activities. Unfortunately drivers cannot see all the activity with the camera, especially when buses are transit.
Concerned about increasing suicide rates due to bullying, Parmenter did a lot of research and presented the board with two options during the meeting. One is an IP cam that allows administrators to view a live feed of the buses via cell phone or computer, and another option called for installing an SD card in the cameras, which will record during transits and be reviewed later by administrators.
"My plan is to have two per bus, mounted on the ceiling in the front and back ends of the bus," Parmenter said. "I also thought this might help catch people passing buses during pickups and drop-offs."
Parmenter said the cost for eight buses would be $544 for cameras and $112 for SD cards, for a total of $656 minus the WiFi costs.
"The pros I've seen researching is that it protects students, drivers and parents, and gives parents a sense of security as the kids are in transit," Parmenter said.
The board was pleased with Parmenter's research efforts and coming forward about her son's troubles, but decided to stick with the cameras they currently have on the buses. These cameras were purchased last year and retrofitted for the buses.
"I think at least it's a start," Superintendent Julie Kraemer said. "There might be some kind of conjunction of accommodation."
Another concerned parent spoke to the board about her daughter's latest experience on the bus. During a recent trip home the bus windows were up on a hot day and she said she could have wrung her daughter's sweat out her hair. Drivers were supposed to be notified Monday but once again her daughter came home dripping because the windows were up. School administrators agreed to notify drivers again.
After a brief public hearing regarding the FY18 school budget, the board approved the budget for the fiscal year 2018 school year. Provided all revenue that is due to Unit 1 from the state comes in during the fiscal year, the budget is about $4,000 in the black for this fiscal year.
"This is not accounting for all the money that's supposed to come in, but it may be a little more than I originally planned on," Kraemer said.
This budget shows 2 out of the 4 categorical payments being received from FY17 and FY18, the base minimum and small percentage of the new money. Kraemer is sure those payments will be received.
Kraemer gave a brief overview of the new adequacy funding formula and the 27 research based elements identified in the new formula. She explained that the formula is not yet fully funded and it may take years to reach full funding, however the district will begin to work on a strategic plan going forward using local priorities and the 27 elements.
Grade School Principal Guy Rumler reported an average attendance at this year's open house at the grade school, and reminded the board mid-terms were last Friday so progress reports would go out this week.
High School Principal Travis Titsworth shared high school open house attendance was low and the school is working on ideas on how to improve.
The board was also notified by Krista McLaren of Kemper CPA that the school's audit report ended with a surplus and another good year. The financial score also achieved a recognized status of 3.9.
In regular business the board directed posting of public information on the school's website at www.hutsonvilletigers.net. It was also announced that the HEA dinner will be November 16 at Bella Vista, Palestine.
After a brief executive session to discuss personnel, the board approved the attached extra duty roster for 2017-18 and hired Tasha Eller as an aide.