TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – As the school year approaches, some Miami Valley school districts are still figuring out how to deal with the aftermath of the Memorial Day tornadoes.
Representatives from area school districts including Dayton Public Schools, Trotwood-Madison, Vandalia, and Northmont met Thursday to discuss the current status of student transportation and busing within the districts.
The group of representatives met at the Trotwood-Madison school district offices to coordinate with each other about the concerns of their students, what steps need to be taken, and in what ways other districts can assist each other.
The meeting was assembled to focus attention on the transportation needs of displaced students.
In some cases, children may have been forced to move to a new school district because of home displacement caused by tornado damage. The meeting was held to begin a discussion about how to ensure displaced children are able to still attend their original schools.
“[We are] trying to ensure that we encourage normalcy with the kids,” said Trotwood-Madison School’s Director of Operations Marlon Howard. “[We want] normalcy with the families, to make sure that if the kids want to come back to the district they have that opportunity.”
Officials said ensuring children can maintain stability and friendships is a key reason why taking these steps is vital.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act guarantees every child an education regardless of their home status. Representatives said parents need to know that their children are entitled to an education as well as being properly placed by school districts.
Parents who may have concerns or questions regarding displacement are encouraged to reach out to the registration offices at their local school district. Those offices will work in coordination with the other area schools to ensure the student’s needs are addressed.
A list of area schools and districts, as well as information about contacting those schools, can be found here.
The school representatives said that displacement numbers are still being tallied and that they should know more information as open registration and enrollment continues throughout the district in the weeks leading up to school being back in session.
Families that have been identified have been working with the schools throughout the summer in preparation.
No final decisions or plans were finalized from the talks but those involved believe this is the first of many steps the schools will be taking to guarantee the needs of their districts as they continue to deal with tornado recovery.
Officials said that is vital each district work together throughout this process and that each district sharing information and strategies is the key to recovery.
“It’s the fact that we’ve got another set of eyes looking out for our kids,” said Howard. “We’re all looking out for each other. It’s unfortunate that a situation like this has to happen for districts to have these positive conversations, but [this meeting] is definitely a good thing.”