MEXICO – All but three of the instructional staff at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology are certified to drive school buses.

Not only will that save the vocational region money when students go on a class trip, but it could also help out if there is an emergency at any school within the member districts, Director Brenda Gammon said.

Staff members who did not already hold a commercial drivers license were encouraged to take CDL classes after buses were needed to evacuate the River Road school building during an odor emergency last year, Gammon said.

Staff took the classes before and after regular school hours during the past autumn, she said.

Having staff licensed to drive the buses is also part of the school’s overall security plan. So far, in accordance with the plan, surveillance cameras have been installed inside the building; later this week, exterior cameras will be installed.

A part-time night receptionist has been hired and a buzzer system for exterior doors is slated for installation later this school year. An intercom system that would communicate with each classroom and lab is also in the works.

Budget development

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board set Monday, Feb. 23, for the Finance Committee to begin reviewing department funding requests.

Gammon said a proposal should be ready to go before the entire board sometime in April. Member towns would vote sometime in May.

She said no specific secondary budget goal has been set by the board.

“We want to create a budget that can be supported by the community,” she said.

The 2008-09 approved secondary budget is $1,896,087.

The current adult and community education budget of $295,520, may go up because of the number of unemployed people Region 9 is serving. If it does increase, Gammon said, additional funding will likely come from grant money.

The adult education program, together with the local CareerCenter, are cooperating to provide retraining and other services for those who have lost their jobs due to the poor economy.

Adult Education Director Nancy Allen received approval from the board Tuesday to increase the number of hours for teachers in her program.


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