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Springfield district dressing up for new school year

8/23/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

LAKEMORE — Springfield Local School District employees are returning back to school with a new dress code after the Board of Education approved a revision to the policy on staff dress and grooming requirements Aug. 21.

Superintendent Bill Stauffer explained the changes were made after months of meetings with a committee made up of teachers and administrators. He added the dress code came under review as board members developed a change in philosophy about staff dress and to better distinguish visitors from staff.

“We need to be role models for our students and dress professionally,” said Stauffer. “We also wanted to create a consistent policy throughout the district.”

District officials defined the new dress code as “business casual,” and said it takes effect immediately.

According to the new policy, staff will be expected to “maintain a neat, clean and well-groomed appearance at school,” and building principals will be responsible for staff compliance.

Staff will no longer be able to wear jeans, sweatpants, exercise pants or jogging suits, but jeans will be permitted on dress down Fridays twice a month. Flip-flops, house shoes, T-shirts other than school spirit shirts on dress-down days, low-cut shirts, see-through clothing, off-the-shoulder tops, halters, tank tops or shirts that reveal the midriff will not be allowed, and dresses and skirts must be no shorter than 3 inches above the knee.

“This is a great improvement,” said board member Neal Hess. “How our teachers appear is important.”

In other business, the board voted 4-1 to approve a three-year lease agreement with Kungle Trucking Co. Inc., which went into effect Aug. 1, for use of the property as a bus parking lot and maintenance bays at the rate of $3,500 per month, with the ability to terminate the deal after each year.

Board member Dave Hofer voted against the proposal and questioned why the district is not building a new garage alongside the construction of a new $42 million school for students in grades seven to 12.

The old bus garage was demolished in May to make room for the construction of a field house near the football field. The district contracts with First Student Inc. for busing, and Treasurer Chris Adams said the company will pay $1,500 toward the monthly lease rate for space at Kungle Trucking.

District officials explained they looked at several options to replace the old garage, including building a new one, retrofitting the empty Lakemore Police Department building on Main Street or the former Boyer Elementary site on Pickle Road, as well as leasing space at various locations.

“This was by far the cheaper and more accommodating deal,” said Adams.

He added the cost of construction, at an estimated $500,000, was “too high” and district officials do not want to take on more debt at this time.

Hofer said he did not agree the district should rent for a period of time and then “start all over again on another building project.”

“This makes sense for now,” said Hess.

District officials also discussed the start of the new school year at the meeting.

Stauffer announced the district has seen an increase in enrollment, with one kindergarten teacher added at Roosevelt Elementary School and possibly another one to be added at Young Elementary School.

Business Manager Dan Laskos stated changes to student breakfasts and lunches this year include more fruit and vegetable offerings, as well as whole grain breads and skim milk.

“We will be watching to see how well kids consume these,” he added.

In other business, the board approved:

• five-year lease agreements, which began Aug. 1, for the use of the former Boyer Elementary School building with the Summit County Educational Service Center for its Early Learning Center at a rate of $1,667 per month and one for its SCOPE Academy at a rate of $1,500 per month. District officials added the deal “keeps the building viable for reuse one day”;

• a revision to the administrative benefit and salary agreement that allows administrative officials to be reimbursed for tuition;

• a health services agreement with Laura Savage, LPN, to provide health care services to a student at the high school; and

• a contract with the Summit County Educational Service Center for participation in the Kids First program at the Robert J. Keegan Family Center for Autism in Copley for this school year.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Administration Building, 2960 Sanitarium Road.

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