WEST MILTON — The bus driver involved in a fatal head-on collision last month and the school employees who arrived on scene to help were honored Monday night by the Milton-Union Board of Education.
The board recognized Diane Kauffman, JoDell Garrison, Michael Meredith, Michael Rohr, Cynthia Adkins, and Steven Moore for their response to the crash on Jan. 28.
“Thank you all. You are all superheroes,” Superintendent Dr. Ginny Rammel said.
Kauffman was driving the bus that was struck head-on by a car that crossed left-of-center. The driver of that vehicle was killed on impact, but no students were seriously injured.
Garrison arrived at the accident and transported students back to school. Other staff members also stopped on their way to work to aid the students and the driver.
At Monday night’s board meeting, a round of applause moved Kauffman to tears as she was recognized for her actions to keep students safe after the crash. Her fellow drivers came to the meeting to support her and the staff members.
“These people were not happy about coming because they said, ‘we did what we should do, I mean, anybody would do it.’ No, not anybody. Not everybody,” Rammel said of the staff members honored at the meeting.
The board presented these staff members with proclamations of appreciation praising them for their quick-thinking and heroism.
Kauffman is back behind the wheel and the children are back in class.
According to a preliminary investigation by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, driver Taylor Dickey’s car was traveling an estimated 101 mph and accelerating before impact.
Further information, including the results of toxicology tests, won’t be available for several more weeks.
The board voted to approved a two-year extension of the district’s contract with Argonaut/Trident Insurance at a rate reduction of 5 percent next school year and a 3 percent decrease in 2017-18. The contract includes the coverage of school property, liability, bus fleet and other district-owned vehicles.
“We’ve been very pleased with their service with the claims that we’ve had,” district treasurer Kay Altenburger said. Altenburger pointed out that there will be a 3 percent increase on valuation, but there was no valuation increase last year.
The insurance company is also expediting the claim on the 2007 Blue Bird bus involved in the Jan. 28 accident, Altenburger said.
Board member Connie McCarroll suggested giving the new bus a different number from the one involved in the crash.
“Thinking about the children that were on the bus, I don’t know how traumatized they were, but I’m wondering if it would be well not to renumber the bus?” she suggested. “Just from a physician’s viewpoint.”
In other business, the board approved the transfer of $1.4 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSCF) Local Fund to the Debt Service Fund, and a transfer of $550,408 from the OSFC Local Fund to the district’s Permanent Improvement Fund.
Since the district closed out the building project, the project fund also needed to be closed out, Altenburger explained.
The principal remaining — $1.4 million — goes to debt service while interest earned goes to permanent improvements like future building repairs.
The board also discussed the district’s quality profile, which uses state report card data and other information to create a profile of the district.
“The quality profile is actually designed to give a better picture of what we do here in Milton-Union,” Kim Puckett, technology/instructional integration coach, explained.
The quality profile highlights things like academics, technology, facilities and student achievement. For example, the elementary school was named an Elite School of Promise by the State of Ohio. The district also offers college course for high schoolers and middle schoolers, and boasts a 95 percent high school graduation rate (which is well above state average of 82 percent.)
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (937) 552-2205.