CASSTOWN — The Miami East Local School Board voted unanimously to begin conducting random drug tests on students in grades 7-12 who are involved in extra-curricular activities at its regular board meeting on Monday.
Superintendent Dr. Todd Rappold said he appreciated the feedback from the board and the district parents he had received regarding the policy over the last few weeks.
All students and parents must sign a random drug test consent form or they will not be eligible to participate in the extra-curricular activities.
“I’ve had a number of parents, I’ve lost track, who offered suggestions, comments, advice and who wanted to see the policy. The policy has gone through numerous revisions and changes and I’m very appreciative,” Rappold said.
Board member Mark Iiames said as a parent of a student who will fall into the category of possibly being tested, he appreciated the efforts of the administration.
“I know the administration has put a lot of thought into it. It’s a tough topic sometimes as it is with a parent to discuss this with a child,” Iiames said.
Dr. Rappold said the drug testing policy is much like any other successful program at Miami East with the support of the community, parents, staff and coaches.
“It’s certainly a team effort. At the end of the year, we will meet once again with parents and all those groups and discuss what went well and what did not,” Dr. Rappold said.
Rappold said a formal contract has not been signed with the Great Lakes Biomedical company who will conduct the screenings. Rappold said he expects the district to spend $3-4,000 on the first year of testing using wellness grants to offset the cost of the tests. Tests range from $15-20 per screening.
Rappold said at the end of the pilot year, he will sit down with administrators and make revisions and changes if needed.
Miami East officials would select one person in the district who would be notified of the day and time of the random screening. All drug screens will be held in the district’s clinic areas for privacy. No advance notice of the testing would be given. A refusal to do the test would be an automatic positive.
Great Lakes Biomedical, the company conducting the tests, uses a computer-generated random number draw to select students to be tested on-site. Students may be tested more than once per season or school year. If a student participates in a fall sport and is tested in the spring and fails the test, the district would implement its discipline plan the next time the student participates in the sport or activity. A copy of the Miami East Local Schools drug testing policy can be found online at www.troydailynews.com.
In other news, Miami East Local Schools Treasurer Lisa Fahncke reported the district has refinanced its $5,325,000 bonds from its new high school project. The refinance of the bond will save the district $949,946 in interest payments over the life the bond through 2037. The district used Fifth Third Securities Inc. to refinance the bonds.
Board member Mark Davis thanked Fahncke for her work on refinancing the bonds to save the district nearly a million dollars.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews