FEMA to register tornado victims at M-U schools

By Matt Clevenger

For Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON — The Milton-Union board of education has approved a plan to let Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials use school facilities as a temporary field office for registering tornado victims.

“I’ve been dealing with Miami County and the FEMA team that’s coming to the area,” the district’s operations supervisor Dan Baisden told board members during their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, June 20. “They didn’t want to do a press release yet, because they want to make sure the dates are right.”

“They would like to use our facility from Friday, June 28 until Monday, July 1, from 7 in the morning to 7 p.m.,” he said. “We’re going to allow them to set up in the cafeteria or the library and work from there. They’re going to be helping people who are un-insured or under-insured; they’re basically telling everybody ‘if you have damage, sign up,’ and they’ll go from there.”

Tornado victims who register with FEMA will be assigned a caseworker who will work with them.

“This will be Miami County only,” Baisden said. “There are 10 counties that the president signed off on, and Miami County’s one of them. This will be the Miami County area.”

“They have to come and do a full building inspection,” he said of FEMA. “They’re probably going to come and do that this weekend. I’m sure they go to places where they have to make sure they have working restrooms. No leaking roofs; they have to make sure that everything is good”

In other business, the board also heard updates on several summer maintenance projects, including the replacement of wrestling mats and the installation of a new wireless scoreboard and sound system.

“The wrestling team paid half, and we got new wrestling mats,” Baisden said. “We also bought a new mower to keep here at the school, and one for the football field. It was just so hard to keep up with, that we were either going to have to buy a new mower or hire an outside company.”

The new scoreboard will replace the district’s outdated model, which is so old that replacement parts are no longer available. “The sound system and everything should be done by August,” Baisden said. “The money it was going to cost to re-wire everything from the grandstands to the scoreboard, on an old scoreboard, it wasn’t worth it. This is all wireless; everything’s run from an iPad.”

Also at Thursday’s meeting, board members approved several handbooks to be used during the 2019-2020 school year, including the district’s student/parent handbook, faculty handbook, classified handbook, elementary school student handbook, bus driver handbook and athletic handbook. Board members approved all the handbooks, but also agreed to re-examine the athletic handbook’s policy on student athletes who miss practice for family vacations.

“They have to make up those practices when they come back, and they can’t compete until they make those practices up,” board vice president Jessica Brumbaugh said “They get punished. It just keeps families from going on a trip together.”

“I tend to have a little bit of a problem with that,” board member Doug Thompson said. “I don’t think the school or the coach should be dictating. If the student’s going on vacation with their family, they ought to be able to do that and not get punished for it.”

Board members agreed to seek recommendations and discuss the practice attendance policy again next month.

“If it’s a set school break, and the family chooses to go away, then I don’t think they should be penalized,” board president Lori Ginn Parsons said.

The board also approved two measures regarding the Milton-Union Public Library. Board members approved the library budget, as well as a plan to place a renewal tax levy on the ballot before voters in November.

“Because we are the taxing authority for the library, we also have to approve any levies that they put on the ballot,” district treasurer Kay Altenburger said. “This is a renewal levy for five years, and will not raise taxes.”

The board also announced two upcoming meetings, including a special meeting at 7 a.m. Thursday, June 27 in the board conference room. The board’s next regular meeting will be held Monday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the board conference room.