School board gets back to business: Renew bus contract; Set last day of school

TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

After being sworn in on Monday, Nov. 11, the newly elected Plainville Board of Education unanimously supported the nominations of Becky Tyrrell as the chairperson and Crystal St. Lawrence as the vice chairperson.

Then, the new board promptly got back to business, addressing bus contracts, the last day of school, and recent fundraisers.

Bus contract

Prior to the meeting, Tyrrell explained, the facilities and finance subcommittees met jointly to review the bus contract with DATTCO. Cliff Gibson, a DATTCO representative, said that the company has had a contract with Plainville for approximately 57 years, making the community the longest continued contract on DATTCO’s roster.

“Some people might not think that’s a good idea [longest standing contract], however, I do think that we’ve had very good service from the company over the years. We really do appreciate they’re working with us, and I think that we feel very confident in moving forward,” said Tyrrell. The motion to continue the contract was approved unanimously, with only newly-elected commissioner Brent Davenport abstaining from the vote.

Commissioner Foster White echoed Tyrrell and Gibson’s positive comments, saying that while DATTCO has had a good record of transporting students to school, the company is also a strong community member as “they do also provide some educational opportunities for some of our students in an intern and apprentice type program, and I think that that just rounds out the relationship.”

Last day of school

The board also unanimously approved a graduation date of Friday, June 12, 2020, but urges parents and families to hold off on planning summer vacations, as that may not be the last day of school.

Superintendent Steven LePage explained that as of July 2019, the determination of graduation dates was shifted, allowing the date to be set at any point during the school year, as long as it falls after 180 days of school, and Friday, June 12, would be the 180th day of school, said LePage.

“Based on this new legislation we’re allowed to set the seniors graduation date at that date, and it doesn’t change regardless of how many snow days we have,” said LePage, adding that the date could still shift for final exams or changing curriculum. “The only caveat is that the rest of the school must continue and have their 180 school days. So the seniors may end up having 175 or 177 school days depending on the snow days we have, [but] they’ll still graduate on Friday, June 12. The underclassmen would have to come back to complete the rest of their school days.”

Middle school fundraiser

On Saturday, Nov. 9, the Thanks for Giving 5K and Turkey Trot kids’ one mile fun run were held at the Middle School of Plainville as a fundraiser to support spring sports at MSP.

Prior to the race, LePage had explained that when the BOE budget was reduced by $100,000 due to lack of support at the all day budget vote and referendum, spring sports at the middle school was one of the things to be cut from the budget. But, he said, spring sports were chosen intentionally with the goal of working with the community to raise the necessary $12,000 to fund the athletic programs.

“I believe that at last count the amount of money raised was over $8,000, about $8,200, so I’m very confident that we’re going to be able to make spring sports work at the middle school with some other adjustments and some planning,” said LePage. “Thank you for being able to be there and completing the 5K no matter what your time was, it was a good one. We had a great time, a tremendous turnout of about 180 participants.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.

Race for middle school athletics is a huge success

Thanks for Giving 5K and Turkey Trot to raise funds for middle school sports