RSS approves activity bus mileage increase, software contracts

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, June 15, 2022

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools plans to increase its activity bus fees incrementally rather than hitting schools with a large increase overnight.

The district originally proposed increasing the reimbursement rate it charges schools for use of activity buses from $1.25 to $2 per mile starting in January to offset rising costs of fuel and maintenance. At $1.25, RSS has the lowest reimbursement rate out of all its neighboring school districts.

But the board of education expressed concern the sudden increase could be too much for schools to absorb, so administration brought back a new recommendation on Monday to only increase the rate to $1.50 beginning in July and $1.75 a year later.

Administration is also working on streamlining how activity bus mileage is paid for athletics trips, so rather than the schools paying from their individual funds for teams to travel to contests the district pays into the activity bus funds directly.

• The board voted to approve a one-year extension with enterprise software provider Serenic at a cost of $121,000. Chief Finance Officer Faith Lambeth said the district may move to a new provider and does not want to commit to a three-year contract with Serenic.

• The board reviewed an update to the district’s code of conduct with stricter consequences for vaping, as well as revised definitions for harassment and disruptive behavior.

Board member Travis Allen implored the board to review the document closely before it is approved at the coming meeting. Even though he is expecting to end his term on the board this year as the likely next sheriff of Rowan County, he pointed to language in the document saying violations “may result” in consequences outlined in the code rather than a guarantee of consequences, especially in cases involving assault. He said he is concerned the language could allow for too much leniency and wants the board to be specific. The document uses “may” in reference to consequences but also, in the case of the level three conduct violations that Allen was using as an example, describes minimum consequences by grade level.

Chief Student Services and Compliance Officer April Kuhn said she would be happy to change “may” to “will,” but the minimums and maximums were added to be more specific.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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