The Marietta Board of Education approved 200 new speed bumps during their Tuesday night meeting by a 7-0 vote, with at least one speed bump coming to every school.
“The Marietta Police Department worked with all of our schools,” said District Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck. “They identified certain things, such as cutting the shrubs and making sure there is good visibility. Speed bumps were one of those suggestions.”
The bumps will be 2 inches high, about 6 feet long and made of rubber, according to Danny Smith, executive director of support at Marietta City Schools. They will cost $22,697 — or $113.49 per speed bump — paid for out of sales tax dollars, and the school system’s maintenance department will do the installation. Illinois-based Speed Bumps & Humps won the contract by a low bid, beating out two other companies who bid above $29,000.
“It will slow down traffic,” said Smith.
The speed bumps are to comply with the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design guidelines, or put simply, they are designed to make schools safer by preventing drivers from speeding. Lembeck said it should make campuses safer for both drivers and pedestrians and discourage anyone from “passing through” schools without a reason to be there.
Smith said police and principals will have a say on where the speed bumps go. Some existing speed bumps will be replaced.
The school board approved the speed bumps with little discussion.
Marietta schools may outsource substitute teachers
The board also talked about outsourcing substitute teachers to a company called Kelly Services, which is headquartered in Michigan.
Though the move will actually cost the school system $52,000 more during the next school year, it is expected to attract better employees, get substitute teacher needs filled more consistently, reduce liabilities and free up the school system’s human resources staff to work on other things. Lembeck said the move might keep Marietta Schools from having to hire another human resources employee down the road.
“This will make sure (substitute teachers) are there when we need them there,” she said.
Allison McMahon, director of human resources, made a presentation to the school board. Kelly Services has similar outsourcing contracts with school systems across the country, and both McMahon and Lembeck said reaction has been positive.
“With this proposal, the vendor we outsource to takes on the payroll taxes, the W-2s, disciplinary actions, recruiting and screening,” McMahon said. “The really big one is the benefits and liabilities, particularly under the Affordable Care Act, now there are some potentially substantial penalties. This outside vendor takes on all of that function.”
McMahon pointed out Kelly would be constantly recruiting new substitutes, which the school system isn’t able to do.
One reason the quality of applicants should go up, according to McMahon, is Kelly hires for year-round positions, paying by the week and providing benefits. Someone hired as a substitute can do other work for the company during the summer. However, the school system will be able to ask for individual substitutes to be removed from the sub list, to be on the list at a particular school more often or to hire the substitute long-term. School board member Brett Bittner asked specifically about the school system having the final say over those choices and was told that would not change.
The Marietta school board is expected to vote on outsourcing substitute teachers April 22.
Also on April 22, the school board will vote to redistrict students at Autumn View apartments on Franklin Road from Hickory Hills Elementary to Park Street Elementary, which is much closer. The students had been moved from Park Street to Hickory Hills for the 2008-09 school year because of low attendance at the latter school.
Hickory Hills has grown since then, so the students will be moved back if the board gives the go-ahead.
“They’re just packed,” said Lembeck. “Hickory Hills is full and Park Street is declining in attendance.”
School board Vice Chair Irene Berens asked if rising fifth-graders can request to stay at their current school and was told that is a possibility. Students can also request a transfer if they want to stay at Hickory Hills.
Also, school board member Brett Bittner has announced his resignation. He has accepted a job in Indianapolis, and April 30 will be his last day serving on the school board.