It has been a busy summer already and July should be no different. As students and teachers are recharging for next year, our custodial and maintenance staffs are working hard to make improvements and ready the schools for another great year.

In addition, the central office ladies are working hard to convert to a new accounting package that should eventually be helpful to all of our staff.

We spend a good deal of time in the summer on the four “B”s (budgets, buses, brooms and beans) so that the school year is a success.

As we prepare for the upcoming year, I want to share some information about progress on projects and changes for 15-16. First, we are moving forward with projects approved with the passage of the bond issue. The door security and kitchen remodel bids will be opened in a few days and work will begin soon.

The HVAC units have arrived on campus and will be going on the buildings over the next couple of weeks. Initial drawings and discussions have started about the safe-room project at the high school. We expect groundbreaking to be sometime in September.

The football bleachers will be replaced after the season. Factoring in the time to design and bid the new bleachers and demo the old, we decided to not rush the job and get less quality than we expect. This will also give us time to recycle the existing metal bleacher seats at other bleacher locations. I believe the community will proud of the way we are using your money on these projects.

The second item is the red calendars that are typically mailed to district patrons in July. We are going to do this differently this year. We are printing some calendars that will be available in central office and at each building when they open in August. If you enjoy having one, there will be one for you.

The printing and postage on these calendars is fairly expensive. We will be going online with an updated website soon and the calendar and all the information in the red book will be available via the Internet. We feel this will be more accurate, because as soon as the calendar is printed it is outdated due to changes.

During the course of the coming school year we will be asking a group of stakeholders to evaluate some new ways to communicate with parents through text, email, phone call, Facebook, etc. We believe the expense of printing the calendars can be used to create better ways to communicate with patrons and parents.

Lastly, I want to communicate some changes in busing and food service. We implemented (or reverted back to) busing policies to match the state recommendations. Starting in the fall, pick-ups within a mile of the school will be “community” stops.

In other words, there will be a central location where the stop will be made rather than front door service. Parents will be asked to list one a.m. pick-up location and two p.m. drop-off locations to assist our drivers in getting our children home safely.

Changes to drop-off locations will not be allowed after 2 p.m. except in emergency situations. Children 3rd grade and under will not be dropped off without a parent present or a sibling 6th grade or older. These procedural changes are important for compliance and safety.

Finally, breakfast and lunch prices are increasing (breakfast $1.25; lunch $1.50 at ES/IS, $1.60 at JH/HS and $2.25 adult.

Enjoy the remainder of the summer!

By Dr. Jim Cummins

(Dr. Jim Cummins is superintendent of the Seneca R-7 School District. He can be reached at jcummins@senecar7.com.)

tel:18003947179

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