CONNORVILLE - Buckeye Local School District's students will be reaping the benefits of its recent receipt of just over $800,000 in payment for certain gas and oil leasing agreements put in place some months ago.
At the meeting, held Thursday in the auditorium at South Elementary in Tiltonsville, board members voted to approve a prioritized expenditure list provided by Superintendent of Schools Mark Miller.
Ultimately, Joe Zelek was the only board member voting against the expenditures - specifically the timing of the decision to spend the money - not necessarily the point of making the individual purchases.
He steadfastly encouraged his fellow board members to refrain from authorizing the funds be spent now.
Among items approved for purchase with these funds were three full size school buses and two smaller transport vans.
The need for new buses in reliable working condition was underscored for the district recently when, during the first week of school two of the fleet's buses developed blown engines.
One board member noted that on a recent outing for a football game one of the two school buses routinely dedicated to transporting band members to away games experienced a serious mechanical breakdown, resulting in all band members having to then travel in an overcrowded condition on a single bus.
Board member Chuck Haggerty has long supported the idea of the district purchasing a transport van as an alternative to using a full-sized bus when a smaller vehicle would more than meet the need and would also be much more cost effective for the district.
The list of purchases offered to the board for their consideration included buying three full-size buses at $80,000 each; two passenger vans costing $25,000 each; spending $300,000 to purchase needed technology to complete the resources begun with the selection and purchase of new math and English textbooks for the elementary students; using $200,000 toward roof repairs at the high school; and earmarking $10,000 for remodeling a single open area there into individual classrooms.
A small remaining balance of $3,297 will be used against legal fees.
In an unrelated matter, during the Thursday meeting several school cooks asked board members to expand the resources dedicated to the cafeteria's operation. One of the employees invited the board members to step with her into her workday, which includes doing the daily food preparation, plating each lunch meal, washing the dishes and seeing to the general clean-up of between 500 and 650 meals a day and more.
One of the items already on the agenda to be addressed later in the meeting was approval of the hiring of several substitute cooks, which was later approved.
It was noted too that the students are taking much more advantage of getting meals from the cafeteria than had been being done during the previous school year during which another vendor's program had been under contract to the district.
The next meeting of the school board will be held on Oct. 25 at the district office in Dillonvale.
Loccisano may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org