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Progress made on bus barn, school improvement specialist

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 11:01 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 11:52 a.m. CDT

Creston School Board met during its regularly scheduled meeting Monday. Bus garage progress was presented, and an update on the search of a school improvement specialist was given to the board members.

Bus garage

Steve McDermott, Creston superintendent, presented the board with graphs listing three options for the bus barn location and pros and cons each option had.

“I’m trying to get down in black and white, alternatives, pros, cons, information,” said McDermott. “So, this was another good step.”

Discussion is ongoing about the location of the bus barn, which was destroyed in a tornado April 2012. One possible location is the original site between Creston High School and Creston Elementary and Middle schools. Another location is the AEA site on Lincoln Street, which was also destroyed in the tornado. The AEA site has two possibilities for design: a one-level or two-level building.

The decision was for the AEA site, but there was a city ordinance issue. The Creston city ordinance states governmental and public utility buildings and structures used for the general welfare of the community are permitted provided that equipment is enclosed and there is no outside storage.

McDermott and Roy Stroud, Creston School District business manager, met with an engineer Sunday to look at rough drawings and numbers of different options. McDermott said the information was too rough, though, to bring to the board.

Stroud and McDermott thought it would be best to reconvene the board subcommittee that looked at the different options previously, and set up a meeting today with engineers and architects. The plan is to get more specific information for each site’s plans, including drawings and costs.

“We’re blowing this out as far as we can, and we’re trying to keep this moving,” McDermott said. “We hope to keep this project moving so the guys have a nice place to work on buses and to store those.”

After getting more information and costs for each option, the plan is to hold a special meeting to decide on the location and design of the bus garage, instead of waiting until the next regularly scheduled meeting in August.

“It’s a hustle, don’t hurry situation,” said McDermott. “We’ve come this far, We want to do this right, but we need to keep this moving.”

School improvement specialist

“We’ve been trying our best to recruit a school improvement specialist,” said McDermott. “And, I think we’ve all said, from one or another, we want to make sure we get a strong candidate and a strong match, and we don’t want to just hire anyone.”

A school improvement specialist will be responsible for Title I reading, special education and school district curriculum, among other things.

“The interview team interviewed two folks the other day, had very positive interviews,” McDermott said. “One candidate made it to the next step. ... In the end, we just didn’t feel that person was a strong enough match.”

Until someone is hired, other staff members have taken on the responsibilities.

“What’s happening is, the principals are actually pulling some of those duties and job responsibilites onto themselves, saying, ‘You know, I think we need to just keep this one off that specialist list.’ And, I think several of them, all of them, have taken on jobs and duties into their own responsibilites and plan to keep those.”

The school improvement specialist job description is still being worked on, and the search continues.

In other school board news

• Construction started on the safe room at Creston High School. All the groundwork is done. Construction on the structure of the safe room at Creston Elementary and Middle schools started.

• Policies in each school and coaching handbook have been discussed, and changes made.

• Sexual harassment and child abuse investigators and equity coordinator were voted on and passed. Creston Middle School Principal Brad Baker is sexual harassment and level I child abuse investigator. Creston High School guidance counselor Angela Bolinger is the alternate. Tim Kenyon, Union County attorney, is sexual harassment and level II child abuse investigator. Callie Anderson, Creston Elementary School principal, pre-kindergarten to second grade, is equity and affirmative action coordinator.

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