While Graham’s financial future must still be addressed and community support is required to achieve fiscal stability in the future, the statement said, through, “reprioritized spending, innovative human resource practices and difficult reductions to services,” the district has experienced some savings.
In addition to making changes within the district, the statement said, Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio plan to make available a new funding opportunity titled Student Wellness and Success Funding.
After passing the budget in July, Ohio invested $675 million into Student Wellness and Success Funding within public schools. Student Wellness and Success Funding, “seeks to ensure each student is challenged, prepared and empowered for his or her future by way of an excellent prekindergarten-grade 12 education,” according to the Ohio Department of Education’s website.
“When released, these dollars will also ease some of the burden on Graham’s operating budget by expanding and supporting existing behavior, social/emotional and health care services such as guidance and nursing,” the statement said.
All of those factors have made it possible for Graham’s board to consider changing the bus services to high school students, the statement said.
“Therefore, on the agenda for the October 9, 2019 Board of Education meeting will be revised transportation plan calling for Graham buses to begin transporting high school students living in rural areas door to door,” the statement said.
Since the implementation of a plan will take time to hire staff and plan routes and schedules, the targeted implementation date for the new busing plan will be Jan. 6, 2020, when the district returns from winter break, the statement said.
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Heather Toppins’ daughter is one of the students who utilizes Graham’s community bus stops. She said currently her daughter has to walk two miles to get to her designated stop.
“It’s not safe. Kids are going to get hit by a car. It’s dangerous. Whether it’s in town, or in the country, it’s not safe for them to be walking on the side of the road,” Toppins said.
Toppins said it’s, “good thing to hear,” something is going to be done about the district’s high school busing.
“We have been calling and calling. And it’s not just me, several other parents have been upset and felt like no one was listening to them,” Toppins said. “It’s a very good thing to hear that something is finally going to be done about this.”