Yuma School District-1 has eliminated in-town bus routes for the 2021-22 school year.
The only exception will be to three licensed daycare centers that are outside the “walk zone” from the Yuma Middle School/Morris Elementary School campus.
The action came Monday night at the Yuma-1 Board of Education’s regular meeting, during a presentation by Transportation Supervisor Jeannie Yenter.
She explained that, after last week’s PK-8 registration, there will be more country students riding the buses this year. The routes go as far south as County Road 19, as far north as County Road 53, and east past Eckley. Yenter said some students get on the bus as early as 6:30 a.m.
Yuma-1, like everyone else, has struggled to attract bus drivers, even after recently increasing salary and benefits, making it even more tough to cover all the routes. Staff members last year began taking turns driving mini-bus routes. Yenter said three large buses and three mini-buses used in the morning, and two large buses and three mini-buses in the afternoon.
And now with activity trips returning back to a normal schedule, it will be even more challenging.
“We’re at a breaking point when it comes to giving a ride to everyone who wants one,” Yenter told the board.
She then recommended eliminating the in-town bus routes.
Superintendent Dianna Chrisman said the district has done all it can the past several years keeping all the routes, but “we’re out of options.”
“I know we’re going to catch a bunch of slack for this, but I don’t know what else to do,” Yenter said.
Board member Duane Brown asked if there could come a time when there are no bus routes at all except for activity trips. Yenter said it could come to that, and there are other districts where that has occurred.
Board members expressed great reluctance but all five approved the motion to eliminate in-town routes.
Kerri Horton with Yuma United Making Advances addressed the board about the organization, which is focusing on youth, recreation and housing. She said all activities sponsored by Y.U.M.A. are free to anyone.
It is currently entering a memorandum of understanding with the Rural Communties Resource Center, and is supplying seed money for a program providing funds to youth that otherwise could not participate in an activity, such as sports. The funds can be used for cleats, shoes, fees, whatever costs need to be covered so the youth can participate.
A simple application will be made available to the public.
Horton also spoke about providing health equity information to Yuma High School and Yuma Middle School students. Y.U.M.A. will be providing workshops about health equity to youth, and another to adults. The organization also wants to get housing information out to students.
Training for simultaneous interpretation is going to be held at the end of August, and Y.U.M.A. also has mini-grants for local causes.
Personnel moves approved within the Consent Calendar were: Sarah McCutcheon, fourth-grade teacher; Jada Young, IT summer help; Brendy Allen, YMS volunteer assistant wrestling coach; Anthony Brooks Alvarez, YMS assistant wrestling coach; Alexis Wells, MES special education; Kinsley Wells, YMS para; Luke Goeglein, YHS assistant boys golf coach; Zach Chapman, YHS volunteer boys golf coach; Jazmine Diaz, YHS ESL para; Dana Harris, Kim Bowers and Amanda Cook, MES para. Separations and resignations included Kristianna Rutledge, grades 5-6 science/social studies teacher; Asuzena Altamirano, custodian; Valerie Walters, custodian; Sharon Farrens, cook.
Returning coaches and club sponsors were approved. A donation of $6,067.93 from Yuma Football Club to YHS football for headsets and camera, and $200 from BECAUSE to FFA, were part of the Consent Calendar.
Five policy parameters and special policy updates were approved on first reading, as were another 37 on second reading.
There was an incredible amount of topics covered at Monday’s board meeting.
The purchase of two 14-capacity school buses for approximately $65,000 each was approved. The buses will not be available until next spring. The district previously had approved purchasing two such buses, but they had been sold by the time the district made the order.
The fuel bid from CRVS for the 2021-22 school year was approved. It is 14-cents below the pump price.
A slight calendar adjustment regarding remote-learning days early in 2022 at YHS was approved, as were a long list of extra duty compensation, and the accompanying extra duty stipend list.
A resolution addressing remote learning during the 2021-22 school year was approved.
The board approved the creation of an additional bank account.
Finally, there came some board action regarding the November school board election. First, a resolution appointing Rhonda Desmond as the designated election official was approved, followed by Desmond taking her oath for that appointment. The board then approved the intergovernmental agreement for the election.
There are three board seats up for election in November. The deadline to submit a nomination petition is August 27, and reportedly there are several currently circulating throughout the community.