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Board discusses possible safety procedures for school traffic

 

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

THE IRONWOOD Area School Board of Education heard an update on the Safe Routes to School initiative during a meeting Monday at Luther L. Wright School in Ironwood. The initiative would include changes across the city, including installing or updating sidewalks, crosswalks and signs, similar to this one, located on Ayer Street.

IRONWOOD — The Ironwood Area School Board of Education discussed possible actions to alleviate parking and possible safety issues for the Safe Routes to School initiative during a meeting, Monday.

Superintendent Tim Kolesar presented an action plan for the project, including changing bus routes, not allowing parents to park near specific entrances anymore and other possible changes.

One change is having all of the buses pick up students at the handicap entrance on Pabst Street at Luther L. Wright School. Currently only one bus picks up students from that location. An issue with the location is a large number of parents parking along side the south side of the street to pick up students.

A goal is to have no parking on the street to make it easier on buses trying to get closer to the school.

The board also discussed the possibility of finding funding, possibly through Safe Routes to School grants, to install a turn-around area for buses in front of LLW off of Ayer Street.

To help kids who walk to school, Kolesar also mentioned the possibility of utilizing crossing guards in certain locations to help deal with excessive amounts of traffic.

The action plan outlined ways to make the initiative successful by education students, encouraging walking or biking to school, enforcing safety measures and engineering safe routes.

The overall goal is to have students familiar with walking or biking to school, being encouraged to do it, making it safe by enforcing traffic laws and having safe routes throughout the city, including installing or updating crosswalks, street signs and sidewalks.

Community partners are also listed throughout the plan, including district staff, officers from Ironwood Public Safety, members of the Ironwood Parent Teacher Organization, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the city of Ironwood.

Kolesar praised Ian Shakleford, of Ironwood, for “taking the bull by the horns” for the project.

“Ian is doing a remarkable job with this,” Kolesar said.

Alternative school lease

The board voted not in favor of signing a lease to rent St. Sebastian School in Bessemer for the alternative school for 2013-’14.

Kolesar presented the lease, which increased since the previous year. During the 2012-’13 school year, the lease was for $2,585 per month, totaling $31,020 for the year.

This upcoming year, the lease is for $2,635 a month, totaling $31,620 for the year.

Board member John Lorenson questioned why the board doesn’t find a way to have students from the alternative school use LLW after hours for classes, or find another building.

Kolesar has previously mentioned in other meetings about possibly purchasing Murphy Law offices in downtown Ironwood. The matter was discussed, but nothing was finalized. Just in case the building were to be purchased, Kolesar asked that the district reserve the right to give St. Sebastian at 30-day notice to end the lease.

However, the board voted 4-3 to not sign the lease. Board president Steve Thomas and members Pam Niemi, Marilyn Nezworski and Lorenson all voted no.

“We have a meeting in September, and the alternative school starts after the rest of the district,” Thomas said. “We may have to start them here (LLW) until we figure something out.”

Other business

The board approved a bid to have Ramme’s Collision Center plow different areas around the district, including the bus garage, spare bus garage, LLW and Sleight Elementary School per bid specifications for the next three years.

Five bids were submitted, with three being lower than the cost the previous three years.

Ramme’s bid was approved for $250 per plowing job.