The Solon Board of Education approved a motion this week for the retirement and rehire of seven teachers from Orchard Middle School and Solon High School for one-year contracts. There will be a hearing on March 13 to approve the contracts to enable the teachers to continue teaching in the district for the 2023-24 school year.

School Superintendent Fred Bolden said this process enables the teachers to continue to teach at their respective schools for an additional year as retire-rehire employees. The teachers include Debbie Bonacci, Paul Diehl, David Fitzgerald, Colleen Hartnett, David Sheppard, Mary Ellen Simecek and Sabrina Tirpak.

State law requires that Ohio school districts provide notice of their intention to rehire retired employees.

During the public-comments section of the school board meeting, Kate Kutnick, the parent of a second-grade student, made a passionate plea for the district to consider adding seat belts to Solon school buses. She said her daughter was involved in a minor school-bus accident in the fall, and, since that time, she has researched seat-belt school-bus safety. She said that the Ohio PTA has recommended that seat belts be added to school buses to provide the utmost safety for students.

Also commenting on the matter was Rudy Breglia, a representative of the School Bus Safety Alliance, a nonprofit organization that advocates for seat belts in all school buses nationwide. He said there are 1,200 school bus crashes each year in Ohio, and “children are routinely killed or injured in school-bus crashes in the U.S.” He said the neighboring school districts of Avon Lake, Hudson and Beachwood have recently purchased new school buses equipped with seat belts.

Dr. Breglia said that adding seat belts to one bus would cost approximately $1,000. He offered to provide funds to do a pilot seat-belt program for the Solon schools.

Mr. Bolden asked Dr. Breglia to set up a meeting to further discuss the information.

In other action, Mr. Bolden said he wanted to provide information to parents of high school students. He said deadlines for students to take part in the College Credit Plus Program are approaching and that parents and students should check the district’s website for information on how to register.

A Zoom information program about the College Credit Plus Program took place on Jan. 24, and a recording of that program can be accessed by contacting the high school, Mr. Bolden said. The registration deadlines are set by colleges, not by the school district, he said.

At the close of the meeting, Solon School District Treasurer Tim Pickana said the district had been reviewed by the Ohio State Auditor’s Office, and the report had no findings or corrections.

School board member Kevin Patton complimented Mr. Pickana and his staff on consistently achieving clean audits. He said the audit process involves a 100-page report and that completing it without any findings or corrections is impressive.

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