Warren adjusts daily start of classes

VINCENT – The Warren Local Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved changes in the start times for the district’s elementary schools to accommodate the return of high school busing this fall.

When busing to the high school was eliminated two years ago in a series of cost-cutting moves, the start times for Warren and Little Hocking elementaries were pushed back and the opening time for Barlow-Vincent Elementary moved up to account for increased traffic at the high school, which shares a campus with B-V. The board voted at last month’s meeting to reinstate the service because of changes in school funding and larger-than-anticipated losses of students.

Barlow-Vincent’s schedule will now be 7:50 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., while Little Hocking and Warren will become 9:05 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. The high school schedule will remain the same, 7:58 a.m. to 3:04 p.m.

Superintendent Tom Gibbs said leaving the elementary start times unchanged would have been problematic.

“We would have to have the high school start later, which means they would end later, which would cause some pretty significant concerns with after-school activities,” he said.

In other business:

  • The board scheduled a trio of special meetings for the coming weeks.

The first, at 5 p.m. Wednesday, will consist primarily of a closed, executive session in which the board plans to continue discussion of its superintendent search.

The board posted the job prior to Gibbs’ resignation, effective July 31, being submitted and narrowed the field of 18 respondents to three, who met with community members and employees on June 8. With those groups and board members split on who they thought would be best, the board decided to reject all three candidates.

Board President Sidney Brackenridge said all options – including seeking more applicants, revisiting the field or enlisting an interim superintendent – remain on the table.

Meanwhile, the district is moving forward with the hiring of principals and assistant principals at Warren High School and Barlow-Vincent, and potentially an athletic director. Principal and athletic director interviews are planned for next week, with hirings expected to be voted on in a special meeting at 5 p.m. July 1. Gibbs said the plan is then to have the principals participate in the assistant principal interviews, with hirings for those jobs to be approved in a 5 p.m. July 8 special meeting.

  • Treasurer Melcie Wells told board members that insurance premiums would increase by 34.62 percent for the upcoming school year, due in part to market conditions but primarily to heavy claims.

“A good portion of this is we’ve had a bad year,” she said. “The insurance company paid out more in claims than they received in premiums.”

Employees pay 20 percent of their premiums, and those who take family coverage will pay about $80 more a month.

The increase will be mitigated somewhat by flat levels in the district’s self-funded prescription and dental insurance coverage.

  • The board approved a bid of $386,048.71 from Athens-based Mountaineer Mechanical, the only company to bid, to replace boilers in the high school’s No. 4 building and Warren Elementary School. That work will be completed over the summer.