With students slated to begin classes on Aug. 20, the West Geauga Local School District is preparing for the 2019-20 academic season by completing summer projects including maintenance upgrades, improved school security, technology and transportation.

Director of Technology and Operations Sean Whelan presented the schools’ summer project updates to the West Geauga Board of Education during Monday’s regular meeting. In addition to general maintenance of the schools, Mr. Whelan highlighted security, technology and transportation updates for the upcoming school year.

Lindsey Elementary School’s server for the cameras is now live and in use, he said, so all four school camera servers are connected and accessible to first responders and police. The school district is also in the final stages of potentially receiving a $40,000 Ohio Bureau Workers’ Compensation Safety Grant for new cameras for the high school, Mr. Whelan said. He added that the district has the funds set aside to purchase the new cameras, but that the grant was an opportunity “too good to pass up as a chance to just make better use of our funds.”

In addition, new security panels at all four school buildings, Mr. Whelan said, will allow greater control and functionality. He told the board that the schools are in the final phases of these upgrades.

As for technology, Mr. Whelan informed that in addition to general upgrades and maintenance, the schools are preparing Chromebooks for the second year of the ninth grade 1-to-1 technology initiative, with 198 computers that were ready to “roll out” by Aug. 14.

For transportation, Mr. Whelan said the schools will be meeting with representatives from Transfinder Corporation and Education Logistics, Inc. for routing software evaluations and comparisons and to verify district needs between West G and Newbury schools.

“Transportation has been a big discussion with the board in light of the fact that we’ve got a pending territory transfer that we’re talking about,” Mr. Whelan said. With the potential transfer looming, Mr. Whelan said the schools would need new routing software. Currently, the West G schools utilize TripSpark Technologies.

In other news, the board approved several administrative raises. Raises include Assistant Superintendent Nancy Benincasa, $114,520; High School Principal Jay Bishop, $108,500; Director of Pupil Personnel Amy Davis, $112,475; Middle School Principal Ron Dahlhofer, $99,324; Director of Public Relations and Development Jim Kish, $102,507; High School Asstistant Principal Shawn Krippel, $86,795; Elementary Principal Deborah Nanney, $96,626, and school psychologist Ashley Wilcox, $63,764.

The board also approved the appointment of Dr. Lynn Shields for the new position of supervisor of educational programming and specialized services. The board approved the creation of the position during a July regular meeting to help with the potential territory transfer of Newbury Local Schools.

Director of Pupil Personnel Amy Davis said Dr. Shields has a Ph.D. in applied behavioral analysis and “will therefore be able to help our students and staff working with emotional trauma and behavioral issues that pop up in the classroom and to provide a positive behavior intervention supports.

“[Dr. Shields] has an expertise both in curriculum and in the area of students with special needs.

“[Her] expertise in best practice and working with a variety of different people will render her a logical person to go over to Newbury and facilitate that transition [of the potential territory transfer]. And she’ll be spending up to two days a week in Newbury working with their staff, their needs – both with special [education] and general [education],” Ms. Davis said of Dr. Shields. “She will be facilitating and working with our psychologists as well.”

The board approved Dr. Shields for 215 contract days for a salary of $86,541. Her contract runs Aug. 1 to July 31, 2021

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