A.L.I.C.E. drill detailed during board meeting

TORONTO – Board members learned about a drill at the city junior-senior high school during Thursday’s city school district board meeting.

Fred Burns, district superintendent, said the high school participated in an Alert, Lock-down, Inform, Counter and Evacuate – A.L.I.C.E. – drill at the high school Thursday. Board members discussed how the drill proceeded.

“We were the first district (in the area) to host an A.L.I.C.E. drill,” said Burns. “It’s a pro-active approach. We had an (emergency law enforcement response team) here, ambulances, the Jefferson County 911 mobile unit, the fire department and Toronto Police.

“We had a lock-down scenario at the high school where we had a person portraying an active shooter,” he continued. “We had people acting as if they were injured. They were all learning what to do in a crisis, and our students were learning, also.”

Burns said after the drill all parties gathered to discuss the drill’s outcome and performance by students, faculty and law enforcement.

“It went very well,” Burns said.

“We announced the drill two minutes before its beginning to parents through our phone calling system. Everyone was pleased with how the students and faculty responded.”

Burns said Karaffa Elementary School went into lock-down mode, and the school will be the future site for another A.L.I.C.E. drill.

In other matters:

Burns said teacher Jennifer Matyas presented a report to the board on the year’s participation by the district in Race to the Top, a federal program for fostering “cooperation between teachers and the administration planning for the needs of the district.”

Burns said board members elected to sign onto the program for the 2014-15 school year, the fifth year in a row the district has used the program. He added teachers and the administration both had to agree to continue the program.

The district renewed its contact with Nutrition Inc. for the 2014-15 school year, said Burns.

“We opened up (food service) for bids, and Nutrition Inc. was the only bidder,” he said.

Burns said members discussed demolition and asbestos removal from the former Toronto High School and learned the project cost $102,733 less than anticipated.

“The state is allowing us to put in a new parking lot at the (current junior-senior high school) behind Karaffa Elementary beside the current parking lot.”

The additional lot will be completed this summer, and R.T. Vernal Paving of Youngstown was the winning bidder, having submitted the lowest bid of $126,876.

“We are still under budget (even with the improvements),” said Burns, adding remaining bond funds will be used for other improvement projects. He added Lesko and Associates of Columbus has been paid $8,250 for the parking lot design.

Burns also said the site of the former high school will be turned into a parking lot for the high school stadium and a green space, with construction slated to begin this summer.

The next board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on June 19 in the Karaffa Elementary School library.