Beavercreek schools move forward cautiously

By DEBRA GASKILL Special Correspondent

December 28, 2013

BEAVERCREEK — While programs are coming back to city schools, officials want parents to know that re-establishment of programs doesn’t mean things are returning to the same way of doing business.

“The board is moving very cautiously,” Superintendent Dr. Bill McGlothlin said, to bring back those cuts that were made following the failure of the Nov. 2012 levy.

“We’re bringing back better, not the same (so) the district and the board can more effectively evaluate the needs of students and change how we do business,” he said.

The board and school administration is stressing fiscal responsibility and restraint while still providing services and programs for all learners, he said.

“We have things in place we just want to do more,” he said.

School bus service for high school students are among several services coming back to city schools, following a vote taken Thursday, Dec. 19 by the Beavercreek Board of Education.

Busing will be restored “before the school year ends,” said McGlothlin.

The Board of Education recognized that the lack of busing created a hardship for many families, which is why they voted to restore this service.

The district needs to hire and train 14 drivers, or possibly less depending on the need. The exact number is not certain at this point, school officials said.

Restoration of high school bus routes will be determined on how fast those drivers can be hired and complete training, McGlothlin said.

Some of the drivers, laid off when busing was cut, have accepted jobs to drive with other districts or in other fields, some may still be unemployed, McGlothlin said.

Drivers are required by the state to have a commercial drivers license, but will also be trained by the Director of Transportation to operate the equipment, to know their routes as well as the streets of Beavercreek.

Student safety is always a high priority, McGlothlin said.

“As we roll out high school busing, we are asking the parents to help” by registering their high school students online, McGlothlin said.

The district will “reach out to parents to let them know when” registration can begin, he said.

The restoration of services was the direct result of the passage of the Nov. 5 levy, which passed by just 31 votes following a Dec. 5 recount in Greene and Montgomery counties.

The levy is anticipated to raise $10.4 million per year for the district over the next five years.

The school board also voted to restore previously reduced elementary music, art and physical education classes and hire new staff to support Third grade Reading Guarantee efforts.

Students will see music, art and physical education programs restored in August 2014.

The Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee is a program to identify students behind in reading from kindergarten through third grade, according to the Ohio Department of Education. Schools will provide help and support to make sure students are on track for reading success by the end of third grade.

“We will be employing staff who will work at identifying struggling in third grade help to pass spring reading assessment,” McGlothlin said.

Those staff members will also work with students in pre-kindergarten through third grade.

Pre-K through third grade students are tested in the fall to assess any reading problems. They must be able to pass the test given in the spring of their third grade year.

Last year, “less that 10 students” needed Third Grade Guarantee instruction, McGlothlin said. This year, 159 third graders did not pass the fall test.