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GFW board OKs bus camera system

GIBBON — The Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop (GFW) school board unanimously approved the purchase of a hybrid HD bus camera system Monday.

Action came on a motion by Marisa Lee, seconded by Drew Schmidt, to purchase a Pro-Vision HD hybrid bus camera system with four cameras for each of 18 school district school buses this fall for $32,832 including installation, enhanced connectivity bundle and one-year device license.

Transportation Director Greg Johnson recommended the purchase of the passive GPS tracking camera system with Wifi download, solid state drive and a five-year warranty.

Johnson said electronic, solid state drives are typically faster and do better in extreme temperatures. Other system costs including live and passive systems cost more, up to $45,000 and had just two cameras per bus.

Technology and Online Learning Director Wade Werner said the bus camera system could be operational when school starts in September.

Superintendent Jeff Horton said having four cameras on a bus would enable the school district to know exactly who is on its buses and detail things like bus stop arm violations and other possible issues like when students got on and off buses.

The board also:

• Heard Horton’s updated COVID-19 guidance that strongly encourages vaccinations for students age 12 and older.

“Mask wearing will be required on buses, as of now, and in school, especially for those not vaccinated,” said Horton. “Right now, it appears we will have local control. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) can enforce public mandates.”

“There are a lot more opportunities to have a normal school year if we so choose,” Horton said. “Families that used distance learning last year, overwhelmingly prefer to come back to school this fall. People are signing up for school student vaccines.”

Horton said the school’s strategic plan includes more mental health support systems this fall.

• Heard facility manager Dave Sellner report there is a broken underground sewer line at the Winthrop school and he is working on a solution.

• Hires included full-time middle/high school math and english teachers, a director of health services, and speech language pathologist, also known as a speech therapist.

• Resignations included .25 FTE junior/senior high technology and wood shop teacher Scott Robinson, special education teacher Heather Bakke, para Ann Albrecht, bus driver Elaine Grosklags and head baseball coach Jim Templin.

• Unanimously approved a 10-year long-term facilities and maintenance plan resolution.

• Approved the school district paying for $15 volunteer background checks for volunteers.

• Middle and high school principal Brittany Galetka reported staff is participating in professional development this summer and students are participating in driver education under the direction of Patrick Schreiner.

“I’m very excited to be finalizing staff for next year and looking forward to additional staff to support academic and social emotional needs of our students,” Galetka reported.

Elementary principal Jennifer Thompson reported summer school (EDGE) will take place Monday through Thursday, July 19 to Aug. 5. She thanked Sharon Fossum, Chelsea Wade, Cecelia Zendejas, and Geri Groebner for assisting.

Galetka said high school science teacher Bix Baker will work with students on robotics and science daily and that 26 students are registered for summer school.

In addition, Galetka said 30 students in grades 3-8 attended summer art camp and put on a “wonderful” production of 101 Dalmatians.

She said T-Bird Community Arts is getting ready to purchase and install high school sound theater equipment with grant money received last summer.

• Donations accepted at the meeting include a $3,000 agricultural education grant from Compeer Financial and $2,500 from America Farmers Grow Communities to the high school music department on behalf of Chris Lee.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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