The School Board is due to meet Nov. 17 in regular board meeting at the District Service Center. Additionally of note, job opportunities are available for those interested in becoming a bus driver in the district. Just head on over to https://www.sowashco.org/services/transportation.Photo by Joseph Back
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District faces driver shortage as task force created to seek long-term bussing solutions

Due to meet next this Nov. 17 in its regular board meeting, the South Washington County School Board held its monthly workshop Nov. 3 at the District Service Center on East Point Douglas Road. Among the items addressed was a transportation update. The purpose of the report by superintendent Julie Nielsen was to update the school board on the transport situation in the district. South Washington Schools operates a three-tiered bussing schedule based on school start times, and provides transportation for students as follows, in relation to each student’s ‘boundary school’:

• Elementary students more than one mile away

• Middle School students who live more than one and a half miles away

• High School students who live more than two miles away Among the current challenges the district facing with regard to bussing is a staffing shortage, in turn causing some routes to be cancelled and leaving around 250 students without transportation. Route cancelation happens when there are drivers available. Additionally, the district provides transportation for special education students, for which it utilizes some 60 routes. With these things in mind, a transportation task force has been created to address longterm solutions to the bussing issue in South Washington County. Those interested in helping alleviate the situation in the short term can find more information on wages and application on the district website by clicking the ‘transportation’ link located in the services tab. Training is paid and hours are flexible.

Also covered in board business Nov. 3, was a first reading of proposed policy updates within the district, with the majority of policies reviewed this month having no proposed changes. There are, however, two exceptions: Policy 716 Employee Recognition and Policy 801.4 Conducting Bond Campaigns.

As to conducting bond campaigns, a language update adds a state statute reference for the district’s bond authority, citing Minnesota Statute 205A.05, Subd 1a. The subdivision states when special elections are allowed to be held, these being the second Tuesday in February, April, May, or August, as well as “the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.”

Regarding Policy 716 Employee Recognition, proposed changes would rise the monetary amount for employee recognition from $20 up to $30, with unspent funds carrying over to the next fiscal year. Among items of recognition employees may receive under the policy are “plaques, medals, recognition meals, event costs, and similar awards.”

The board meets for the second and final reading of policy changes at the Nov. 17 board meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. in the District Service Center on East Point Douglas Road, in Cottage Grove.

November 9, 2022