After an extended power outage disrupted a recent school day, Centerville-Abington Community Schools wants to be better prepared for communication if a similar situation arises again.

CACS officials are working on an information technology infrastructure power availability improvement plan, board members learned at their Nov. 29 meeting.

They realized they had a backup power issue when electricity went out in all buildings several weeks ago for most of the morning. They said they had no phone service and no way to notify families.

Superintendent Mike McCoy now has the ability to send information via his cellphone.

Doug Ford will seek prices for what’s needed to continue running the core network, maintain phone connectivity and fire alarm communications and give building secretaries access to school information systems. They’re deciding how many hours of coverage is needed and what’s affordable.

McCoy said this power outage was the longest one he could recall during a school day.

“I think it’s great we’re taking a step to make it better than it was,” board President Todd Duke said.

In other business

  • CACS received $64,921.16 from Indiana for Teacher Appreciation Grants. All full-time highly effective teachers and administrators will receive $698.08; effective teachers receive $523.56; a part-timer receives $349.04.
  • The board unanimously approved policies regarding usage of artificial intelligence to be consistently added to each building’s handbook. Member Andy Wandersee was absent.
    They also approved policies replacing prior ones on topics such as test security provisions, training for anyone using restraints, search and seizure, student supervision, employee ethics, training for money handlers, and purchasing procedures.
  • Window replacement is finished at Centerville-Abington Elementary.
  • While construction is completed on the new transportation center, buses were moved to the new lot during Thanksgiving break, allowing them to be plugged in throughout the winter.
  • Assistant Superintendent Sean Stevenson thanked grounds crew Ron Pennington, Mark Robbins and Leo Calderon for their “wonderful job” this year.
  • Centerville Senior High School’s Green Club collected seven skids of bottle caps to send to a recycler and exchanged them for seven benches and two bird baths to be installed at schools. The benches cost about $250 each, most of which the club raised.
  • The board approved a $1,000 donation to Rose Hamilton Elementary from an anonymous donor who wished to be recognized as “BlessTheWorld.” It’s earmarked for Mrs. Molina’s second grade and Mrs. Sheard’s kindergarten.

Personnel news

  • Transfers: Angela Lynch, from permanent sub to CAE secretary; Nathan Rigsby, from substitute to junior high special education assistant; Chelsea Buchanan, CAE custodian to Rose Hamilton custodian; Sally Deatline, Title I kindergarten assistant to special education assistant
  • Pending hire: Lauren Ogden, substitute nurse
  • Volunteer: Jacob Fordonski, junior high boys basketball
  • Departure: Amanda Strait, special education assistant
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A version of this article appeared in the December 6 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.