SHERIDAN — In order to comply with a statute of the Wyoming Legislature passed this year, Sheridan County School District 2 voted Wednesday to request bids to install two exterior cameras on each bus in the district’s fleet, for a total of 36 cameras.
The law was passed as the result of an 11-year-old girl in Fremont County being struck and killed by a truck that was illegally passing a bus that had its lights flashing when she dismounted the bus and crossed a highway.
The district has been allocated up to $180,000 from the state to purchase the camera systems, which must be installed by July 1, 2017. Business Manager Roxie Taft said she wanted to bid for the project early because every school district in the state will also be bidding to outfit their buses.
The remaining seven buses in the SCSD2 fleet not outfitted in this bid are scheduled to be replaced prior to July 1, 2017, and will be ordered with the necessary camera systems from the bus vendor, Transportation Director Steve Schlicting said.
Officials hope the cameras will reduce similar accidents by allowing bus drivers to see if a car is passing illegally and making it more likely that people who do pass buses illegally get caught.
The board also heard from Sheridan Junior High School Principal Mitch Craft who is working with Graduation Counts Sheridan, a collaboration between SCSD2 and the broader Sheridan community to ensure high school graduation for all local youth.
Craft said the group has identified four key areas to focus on in coming months. These include identifying the factors unique to Sheridan that lead youth to drop out of school; taking an inventory of community and school district assets that can support the program’s mission; gathering data to find trends that point to drop-out risk such as poor elementary attendance and failed courses in ninth grade, as well as research on strategies that have helped other communities improve graduation rates; and influencing state level policies related to graduation, including the definition of a dropout and mandatory attendance ages.
Craft said the Graduation Counts group is also hoping to follow a system implemented in Missoula, Montana, in which businesses are asked to partner with the school district to encourage school-aged employees to stay in school. In some cases, businesses commit to only hiring youth who are enrolled in school or who have graduated to encourage school completion.
In other business, the board:
• approved on second reading three policies passed on first reading at the last meeting without any revisions. These included the professional staff salary schedule, compulsory attendance ages and a consent to withdrawal form that parents must sign to allow a child over age 16 to withdraw from school.
• approved budget amendments to increase the major maintenance budget from $2.6 million to $2.62 million for an increase in interest revenue and to offset expenditures.
• approved a request from Taft to request bids for milk delivery since scheduling and delivery has not been satisfactory and costs $100,000 per year. Taft wants to compare prices and service and will report back to the board at a later meeting.
• approved a request to bid for a 3-D printer for the junior high to foster science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning.
• approved activity enrollment and catastrophic/liability insurance with the Wyoming High School Activities Association.
• heard from Ed Fessler a yearly Student Planning Office report on financial aid, college exam scores and college retention of Sheridan High School students.
• approved the fiscal year 2015 budget.
Following a brief executive session, the board reconvened and approved a personnel action report for hiring one professional staff member, three certified staff members and five classified staff members. The report also listed approved changes and transfers of positions and extra duties held by SCSD2 staff.