SUPERINTENDENT DR. ANDREA TUTTLE presented images of the transportation garage on Jerome Street during the Monday evening board meeting. This image shows some of the overwhelming flooding that occurs, particularly in the spring. Buses are currently exposed to seasonal elements that only increase wear and tear and cause extra expenditures.
Owosso Public Schools has been researching a property at 1750 E. South Street (Precision Electric) as a possible site to relocate the bus garage/transportation facility. The board moved ahead to allow Tuttle to negotiate on behalf of the board and enter into a buyer agency with Re/Max of Owosso. Any price negotiated will have to come before the board prior to approval of any offer(s). The South Street property is currently on the market, offers space for a transportation facility that will include the mechanic, allows room for operations staff with the possibility for future career and technical education opportunities and also includes additional office space with rental potential or use as administrative space, if needed.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
After having the first snow day of the current school year on Monday, Nov. 26, necessitated more by hazardous icy conditions than actual accumulation, the Owosso Board of Education still held the regular meeting in the Owosso High School Media Center. Special recognition was granted to Terry Hoenshell, who is retiring from OPS after 17 years, most recently serving as the day custodian at Emerson Elementary. It was well reported during the meeting that Hoenshell had become a respected and loved character at the elementary school.
Speaking on behalf of student government representative Cayden Whiteherse, who was absent, Superintendent Dr. Andrea Tuttle emphasized that the Owosso Cares Food Drive, which is no longer affiliated with ABC 12, will see all nonperishable food donations delivered to various community food banks. All proceeds through the Owosso Cares Backpack Program will go directly to students.
During the first public participation opening, Steam Railroading Institute Director Kim Springsdorf, along with board member Kevin Lenkart, offered their gratitude to OPS for the quick response to the delay of the Pere Marquette 1225 on Saturday, Nov. 17 due to the derailment of a freight train. Eleven OPS bus drivers assisted in transporting passengers back into Owosso – many happily singing Christmas songs with the visitors.
Moving into action items, the school board discussed and moved forward with more contract awards related to elementary school bond work. Two school warehouse properties on Cass and Cedar streets were pushed forward in the process of declaring them both obsolete due to exceedingly costly repairs that are needed. The Cass Street location actually contains the only current, though manual, bus lift to allow for undercarriage maintenance. However, the school board has been researching options to meet the contemporary needs of the outdated transportation garage on Jerome Street – which is in a state of disrepair due to age and the environment, and also floods regularly since it is situated on wetlands. By declaring the warehouse properties obsolete, it allows the district to put them up for sale, with all proceeds going back into the general fund. This is one step in the process of possibly relocating the transportation garage to another property on South Street (Precision Electric). It should be noted that the district would prefer to retain the Jerome Street property for event parking for Willman Field.
Other topics talked about during the meeting included an Owosso sewer easement for the middle school property on Water Street and concerns about recent major staff turnover rates – some of which are connected to individuals seeking lower stress, higher pay positions.
Trustee Sara Keyes expressed her viewpoint about the first snow day, sharing that as a parent, she was grateful that it had been called off on Sunday evening, since that allowed her time to find alternate care for her children. President Tim Jenc shared that he thought it was wise of the school not to take risks. Trustee Marlene Webster essentially stated that modern technology has come a long way from thirty or more years ago, allowing the school to be reasonably safer during the winter season.
The Owosso Cares Canned Food Drive starts Monday, Dec. 3. The next school board meeting is planned for Monday, Dec. 10.