Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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April 24, 2013

GOSHEN SCHOOL BOARD: Transportation funding, middle school security addressed

GOSHEN — A transportation study group has been formed by Goshen Community Schools to investigate options in addressing funding reductions due to the circuit breaker property tax caps.

During Monday night’s school board meeting Assistant Superintendent Robert Evans told trustees the study group met recently to discuss details of transportation finances and brainstormed ideas to save money.

Some of the options are increased walk zones and designated hubs where students walk several blocks to wait for a bus, Evans said.

The group consists of school personnel, community members and a school board member.

“Out-sourcing transportation and other methods to reduce bus routes will be discussed when we meet April 29,” Evans said. “The reality is that our students and community will likely feel the impact of this shortfall. No one in this group wants to hinder students from participating in extra-curricular activities, athletics or band trips. However, transporting students to activities is a significant cost. The truth is that all of these changes may not match the money needed to make the fund solvent.”

Middle School security

The estimated costs for potential summer projects for building and grounds is $2,678,976 while the total for technology projects is $982,000, said Business Manager Jerry Hawkins.

One of the projects would be changes to the front entrance security at Goshen Middle School at a cost of $143,000. Currently, once the school day starts, the building goes into lockdown and everyone is buzzed into the building, he said.

“The problem (is) that once they go through those doors there’s a wide open area with no security at that point,” Hawkins said. “We have no ability to control where they go and the visibility from the office isn’t good, so there’s really limited security.”

A group including Hawkins looked at the situation and came up with “a good option,” he said.  

“Once the school day is started and the building is locked down, all the people would come to a new entrance that would be just to the north of the main entrance and put a security person there,” Hawkins said. “They would be watching traffic and people as they come in. We would have a locked door from there.”

Lunch price increase

Hawkins also told the board that lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year will increase 10 cents for grades K-5 from $1.75 to $1.85 and 6-12 from $1.90 to $2. The price for reduced or free meals would not be raised, he said.

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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