By Steven Hoffman
Responding to at least two complaints about bullying occurring on school buses, the Avon Grove School District is planning to provide additional training for school bus drivers on how to handle situations where students act out.
At the 10 school board meeting, superintendent Dr. Gus Massaro said that district officials followed up with parents who raised concerns about bullying on the school buses. He said that the district wanted to provide some training techniques for the bus drivers and officials will be meeting with the bus contractor to discuss some options.
“We are looking into having some workshops for the bus drivers,” Massaro said. “We want to take some of the strategies that we use in classrooms and in the school environment and apply them to the school buses.”
He noted that buses usually have up to 72 students at one time so it is a daunting task for any driver to simultaneously drive the bus and prevent students from acting out.
Board member Bruce Dobsch said that the board should receive regular updates about the incidents that do get reported. Massaro agreed.
In other business at the meeting, board member Herman Engel, who serves on the district’s finance and budget committee, said that when the district starts work on the next budget, Avon Grove will most likely have an Act 1 Index of 2.8 percent. The Act 1 Index establishes how much the district can raise taxes without seeking approval from voters.
There will be a new administrative team working on the next budget. Massaro will retire at the end of the month with Dr. Christopher Marchese taking over the top administrative post in the district.
Business manager James Asciutto announced last month that he is also retiring on Oct. 31. The district is looking for an interim business manager until a permanent replacement can be identified and may utilize services provided by the Chester County Intermediate Unit.
Massaro handed out commendations to two longtime school board members. Pattie Lyons has been serving on the school board for 16 years and Bob Weidenmuller has served for the last eight years. Lyons is seeking another term on the board in the November election while Weidenmuller has decided not to run again.
The superintendent said that there is a benefit to having experienced school board members.
“When you have longevity on the board,” Massaro said, “the board members have a better understanding of the issues that the district is facing.”