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Nordonia Hills School Board talks busing, pay increase for substitute teachers

by Briana Barker | Reporter Published: August 17, 2016 12:00 AM
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Nordonia Hills -- Transportation Manager Matt Gaugler told the School Board busing will be much improved this coming school year.

"Everything is going to be more efficient this year," Gaugler said during a regular July 25 meeting. "We have all the tools that we need, we have satellite tracking on the buses, the drivers and the monitors swipe in and swipe out, what that means to everybody is just increased efficiency and accountability."

He said there will again be 36 routes split into three tiers per route, but after much studying of the routes, Gaugler said the routes will be mirrored in the morning and in the afternoon, so students will have the same buses for both daily rides which wasn't the case last year. He said by mirroring the routes it will be "much easier for schools and families to understand and much safer for the children."

Gaugler said drivers have been driving the routes to give input about the routes and timing of the runs. He added they are aware of the construction in the area and said the most challenging obstacle will be the Ledge Road work in Northfield Village near Lee Eaton Elementary. Gaugler said he has worked with village Service Director Jason Walters on alternate routes to access the school and has a rerouted any routes affected by the Shepard Road construction also.

Additionally he said parents will be able to access the transportation website www.nordoniaschools.org/Transportation for the district to see the routes as well as starting a Twitter account to help keep parents informed. Gaugler said there was a lot of feedback last year about poor communication and felt that was Petermann's biggest challenge.

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"We want to be more out there and more a part of the community, rather than hiding," he said.

School Board member Nick Berchtold said last year's busing was "disastrous" and told Gaugler he expects the school year to be "near flawless."

In other business

The Board agreed to contract with Infinity Construction to fix the retaining wall at Nordonia High School's William Boliantz Stadium. Less than six years after being built, the retaining wall on the home side of the stadium bleachers is cracked and while school officials say it is not currently a safety issue, it would certainly become one if not addressed. While the Board voted June 10 to hire Infinity, the initial estimate was nearly $50,000 less than the cost of the work actually is. District Business Manager Tom Hartman said the revised contract is for $247,476 with Infinity and an additional $28,000 will be paid to JT Seating to put the seating that had to be torn down to get to the problem back up.

Hartman said the district will pay for the fix out of the general fund, but with the intent to recoup the funds from either the builder or designer who have been "pointing fingers" at each other for nearly a year as to whose fault the drainage issue is. According to a press release released by the district June 10, both the contractor and architect have denied responsibility for the problem. Neither could be reached immediately for comment.

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Hartman said JTO Inc was the contractor who originally built the retaining wall and stadium and ADA Architects did the design work for the more than $8 million stadium.

According to a June 13 press release from the district legal steps are being taken by the School Board to recoup the cost of the repair.

Additionally, the Board voted unanimously July 25 to approve litigation, but declined to comment any further as to what the litigation is for or who it is against.

The construction has caused the district to rent Brecksville-Broadview Heights Stadium for the first "home game" of the 2016 football season Aug. 26.

/ Substitute teachers in the area can expect to see a $5 increase in their daily compensation, as the Board voted to approve the increase.

Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark said the increase still places Nordonia in the lower third of the county as far as compensating substitutes, but is hoping the increase will help boost the district's fill rate. He said Twinsburg and Hudson still pay more but Brecksville pays lower substitute wages.

Clark added with the economy doing better, many substitutes have taken full-time positions and the pool of available teachers has gotten smaller.

The increase is estimated to cost the district an additional $15,000 a year but hasn't been increased in 10 years, according to Board member Jim Szabo.

/ The district also renewed its contract with Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron, who provides nursing services to the schools.

Clark said the district has been very happy with the service they receive from Children's Hospital and their level of professionalism.


Briana Barker: 330-541-9432




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