VCS union leader seeks more input for coming year

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg Education Association President Jennifer Rodas wants the union to be involved in administrative discussions centering on the 2021-22 academic year, she told School Board members at an April 12 meeting.

“We are asking that the district include us in the process. We are hoping that decisions and discussions will be made with us and not communicated to us later,” Rodas said. “We are hoping to have a better return to school than we did in the 2020 fall.”

She also implored board members to consider hiring more school counselors to help students who are struggling with stress and other issues wrought by COVID-19. She said more school counselors would provide relief for a five-person team of counselors that, she said, is overworked and at risk of burnout.

“We are hoping that the district and the school board will invest in the emotional well-being of our students and give our counseling staff realistic expectations with the amount of students they can service effectively,” she said.

The district took the first step in a borrowing process to purchase six new buses. Assistant Superintendent Steve Goss said the installment purchase agreement was originally discussed in February.

The 77-passenger, gasoline-powered buses will be purchased through the Michigan School Business Officials Cooperative bidding program at a total cost of $533,478.

“In our experience, we get the best prices available by doing that,” he said. “We’re going to take advantage of very low interest rates and we’ll pay those notes off in three years.”

Also, O’Neill said the district’s partnership with South County Community Services and Kalamazoo County Health Department to stage a vaccine clinic at the high school was a success. The event took place March 31.

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