NEW PARIS — National Trail Local School District is working to make its transportation safer for students and community members alike.
During the NT Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, Transportation Supervisor John Toschlog presented the board a demonstration on the new warning lights installed on six school buses.
Following, he said, “I had mentioned in previous meetings about the auxiliary and warning lights and I appreciate everyone taking time to check those out. We have six buses that are outfitted with them now. In just the last couple years these have been approved by the State Highway Patrol for construction standards.
“We have six buses now and we targeted the buses that are in the high speed and high traffic zones – U.S. Route 40, U.S. Route 127, U.S. Route 35, State Route 726 – those areas when you have 55mph and often 65mph traffic. This provides a little more visibility a little farther away. By looking at them you can tell how far away they are. Where they are especially useful is the sunlight, you have the sun coming up in the morning and those lights will show up.
“I think those are a much increased safety measure in our school buses. The drivers who have them, so far, really like them. We have just as much issues here with cars passing stop arms and red lights, as across the State of Ohio. I don’t think this will end it, but I do think it will help.”
In other business, Food Service Supervisor Dorothy Frist reported National Trail’s lunch counts are down by 5,000 lunches from last year. Most of that number — 4,900 — is actually free lunches, which means that the school will lose some of their federal funding for free and reduced meals.
They school is only down a total of 37 kids who received free lunches last year, but that amount equates to 4,900 lunches from the beginning of the school year to now. Frist added that she will do a money comparison next month. She expects it to be down in federal funding, due to those free lunches being down.
“I think they’re just not filling out the applications. We’ve even sent applications home with the kids, trying to get parents in need to fill out applications,” she said. “For the most part, the kids are eating, but they are wanting to keep charging their lunches. I send home and application and they never turn it back in. I really don’t know what is going on.”
The School Resource Liaison has worked with different parents to get them to fill out the application, but it is a “hard process,” Frist noted.
Superintendent Jeff Parker noted there are different factors as well, such as the enrollment being down by 30 students.
However, on a lighter note, Frist has finally gotten the design for the new snack machine. This machine will allow cafeteria staff to make different food items and stock the machine with it.
Frist noted, additional software can be added that will add the machine to their Point of Sale (POS) system, allowing students to use their number to purchase food from the machine. As of now, the school will just have the machine, but they hope to later install this additional software, making it possible for students to buy food a healthy meal after school hours.
The machine will not take credit cards.
Elementary Principal Ed Eales noted that due to eSpark, National Trail students are improving vastly. Students are logging on an average of 4.3 times a week and they went from the 51st percent tile Nation Wide and now they are at the 55th percent tile.
“That means we’ve passed four percent of the other kids doing the same thing we are. That means our kids are growing at a rate stronger than the other kids. When I talked to our representative she said that if schools see zero to one percent growth schools are very happy, because the kids are keeping up and getting that year’s growth. Our kids are growing better than that,” he said.
National Trail Board of Education will next meeting on Tuesday, March 27 at the National Trail School K-12 Facility at 6:30 p.m.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH