Owen Co. board members voice concerns about allowing use of anti-heroin overdose meds, but no vote taken; bus driver pay upped $1 to help recruiting

News-Herald, Owenton, Nov. 30, 2016

Board discusses possible Narcan use on school grounds
By Mattie Cook

A discussion to put Narcan in district schools was met with concern from Owen County School Board members at its Nov. 21 meeting.

Surrounding school districts are discussing keeping the opiate antidote often used to reverse the effects of heroin on school grounds, according to Owen County School Superintendent Rob Stafford.

In her introduction to the topic, Owen County Director of District-Wide Programs Joretta Crowe mentioned that other districts are leaning toward not keeping the lifesaving drug on campus.

“In a talk I had with Nurse Karen, we felt that because we have all of our emergency personnel so close, that doing CPR for the short amount of time it would take someone to get here would be sufficient until the personnel can administer the Narcan,” Crowe said.

Board member Cara Stewart echoed Crowe’s stance.

“It may not be an issue, but my first response is protecting our staff,” Stewart said. “I mean, what liability falls upon those individuals, plus getting them certified when they have enough to do already? Especially when the services that are already certified to do it are so close and available.”

Other board members were on the same page and noted that the negatives might outweigh the positives of having Narcan on campus.

Board member Larry Johnson also put in a word on the matter.

“Narcan is a very strong anti-opiate drug, and it can reverse quickly, but having it in schools and available for use raises a lot of issues,” he said. “If I’m not mistaken we have multiple sources that carry Narcan that are close and easily available.”

If placed in schools, Stafford said strict rules would be put into place regarding the lifesaving drug’s location and storage for access in an emergency but would be kept safe from unauthorized personnel. Nurses would be the only authorized administrators.

Only a discussion was held on the issue, but an official vote is expected to be taken at a later meeting.

In other news:

- The need for additional bus drivers has become a headlining issue for the district, as well as surrounding districts, according to Stafford.

Pay and the demanding nature of the job make it difficult to find and keep drivers, Stafford added.

To stay competitive, the board voted on a $1 increase in pay for drivers, effective Thursday.

The board also approved to have the mechanic’s assistant position pay increased to a driver’s salary, as the employee already drives a route in addition to mechanic duties.

The district currently has 28 regular bus routes.

- School principals also gave reports on recent activity within their respective schools and gave presentations on KPREP and testing scores.

The Owen County Upper and Lower Elementary Schools stand at proficient, along with Owen County High School. Maurice Bowling Middle School scored a novice rating.
MBMS Principal Donnette Gaines expressed that middle schoolers are tested more than any other age group.

“It’s tough,” she said. “We are already seeing success from focused changes we have made and we are confident the students will meet the challenges ahead.”

- An auditor’s report revealed that revenues have stayed above expenses with no major infractions found. The district has also seen growth in the general fund.

- During the Geotechnical report, the board voted to approve Thoroughbred Engineering as the engineering firm to drill for the lower elementary renovation project.

They will be drilling 18 borings. Thoroughbred Engineering owns their own drill, making the project faster and more cost efficient.

Owen County School Director of Maintenance Dan Logan also noted that Thoroughbred has completed projects for the district in the past, so they are optimistic about the company’s efforts.

The board also set a special meeting to review documents on the renovation before the next board meeting. That meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Dec. 15.

- Logan reported that the asbestos survey to be done on the old elementary school would cost approximately $3,500 depending on possible sampling costs. Logan said the survey is necessary before demolition to be cleared of any toxins.

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