By Matt Clevenger
PIQUA — The Piqua City Schools have announced plans for a transportation job fair to help recruit new applicants for open bus driver positions in the district.
“That’s been a challenging area for us to keep staffed,” Assistant Superintendent Tony Lyons said during the Piqua City School District Board of Education meeting held on Thursday, April 27.
The job fair will be held in the student union at Piqua High School, and is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 3.
“We’re still working out some of the details,” Lyons said. “You’ll start to see some information coming out on social media.”
“I think it will generate some interest to get people into our department,” he said.
Current drivers will be available to answer questions and provide information on the district’s CDL training program.
“We will train you,” Lyons said. “We’ll have some courses in there for them to take, and just different things to learn about what the process looks like getting a CDL with passenger. We do almost all of the training to get them there.”
“It’s a really fantastic job,” he said. “I think people don’t really understand what that job is like, and the fact that you can have full-time pay with benefits throughout the year.”
In other business, board members also discussed a plan to removal of damaged bleacher seating at Wertz Stadium.
“It’s one of our oldest facilities, and we’re doing everything to maintain it,” Superintendent Dwayne Thompson said. “With our insurance checks every year, we continue to look at the safety. They’ve noticed some deterioration in the visitor’s side of the bleachers.”
“We looked at getting them repaired; it’s going to be over $116,000,” Thompson said. “Our thoughts are that we would use the home side and split it. We would take these down, rather than trying to repair them.”
“That’s a lot of money,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of people who sit there for soccer games.”
The damaged bleachers will be parted out, and extra parking spaces could be constructed in the space.
“There’s plenty of seating,” Thompson said. “Bathrooms and concessions are all on the home side, so it’s convenient.”
Board members also honored Athletic Director Chip Hare, who was recently named Athletic Director of the Year by the Southwest Ohio Athletic Directors’ Association.
“We were contacted by the Southwest Ohio Athletic Directors Association,” Thompson said. “This year Chip Hare was selected as their Athletic Director of the Year. He was recognized on April 25 at a special breakfast for all this region’s athletic directors.”
“He works countless hours,” Thompson said. “We’re very proud of him getting recognized for that.”
Board members also approved a student insurance policy through Health Special Risk Inc, and heard an update on the district’s finances from treasurer Jeremie Hittle.
“The district has operated in the black since 2007,” Hittle said.
“I’d say the number one expense that we are facing is programming for our severely behaved children,” he said. “We’ve expanded our Elevate program, which is a K-3 program that takes care of just ten students, and costs nearly a half a million dollars to operate that program. So if we were to continue expanding that ,and there are requests for that all the way through junior high level, what does that cost come in at?”
“That’s going to continue to be a problem,” he said. “That’s the number one biggest expense that we have to worry about.”
Board members also saw a presentation by Kiara Williams and the district’s Student Success Team.
“Last year was our first year,” Williams said. “The team has done an amazing job of working with our buildings to find out what are the best solutions to best support their buildings.”
“We just want to say thank you, for giving us the opportunity to do this work,” she said. “We also want to say thank you to the teachers who have allowed us to work in their classrooms and directly impact students.”
“It’s an incredible group of people, and they put in a ton of work,” Thompson said. “It’s very special.”
Piqua High School student Richard Price and high school teacher Casey Pace also delivered a presentation on Price’s service-learning class project. Price created a flier listing non-profit groups who offer food assistance and contact information that is now distributed to those in need through the school and other organizations.
“We have these available at the board,” Thompson said. “It was a great solution to something that we receive a lot of questions on.”
“We had so many amazing projects come out,” Pace said. “This is just one example of a student who did a really, really great project; so many of them were great.”
“The service-learning class is basically meant to provide an outlet for them to come up with a community issue that they see, and how they want to fix it,” she said.
“They’re passionate about their topics, and they’re passionate about doing things that help our community,” Pace said. “It’s really cool to kind of watch them evolve, and to bring out these new ideas. The best part is they figure out the solutions.”
Board members adjourned their meeting to enter an executive session. The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 18.