CLYMER - The investigation into a Clymer school bus accident that sent four students to WCA Hospital last week is still ongoing.
According to a Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department police report, a Clymer school bus being driven by Betty Bayle was transporting eight students from Clymer to Erie 2 BOCES Hewes Education Center in Ashville on March 5, when it inexplicably left Route 474 approximately two miles east of Panama at 8:20 a.m.
The incident was reported to The Post-Journal shortly after it occurred by Superintendent Bert Lictus, who said no serious injuries to students had been sustained. The report said the bus was traveling westbound on Route 474 when it went off the north side of the road, and traveled approximately 500 feet through a ditch before striking a driveway culvert - which caused the bus to go airborne. The bus landed nose down in an embankment, causing the hood to be torn off.
"We were not able to give a full accounting, as the investigation is still not complete. This is obviously a personnel issue, but we still don't have all of our answers yet," Lictus said during Monday's Board of Education meeting.
Bayle was reported to be uninjured, but was charged with failure to maintain lane and will report to the Harmony Court at a later date. Additional charges may be pending based on the outcome of the investigation.
In other business, the Clymer Central School District now officially has a principal at the elementary level. The board approved a resolution Monday to change the title of Sonja DuBois, who previously served as dean of students, to universal pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade principal.
"This is obviously a personnel issue, but we still don't have all of our answers yet."
According to Lictus, the title change relates to the district's ability to operate more effectively under its Annual Professional Performance Review plan by evenly distributing the grade levels between two principals. While DuBois is now effectively titled principal of students from UPK through sixth grade, seventh- through 12th-grade students are monitored by Edward Bailey, grades 7-12 principal.
"We think that we can meet the needs of our students a little more effectively by having an administrator focused on certain grade levels," Lictus said. "It's my hope that, by focusing on more specific grades, each principal can be more involved in the day-to-day function of each grade. Sonja has done a fantastic job as dean of students, and we have every expectation that she will continue to be just as successful in her new role."
Lictus said DuBois' title change will have no impact on her current contract with the district, but having her listed in the books as a principal makes for more of a smooth operation during the times when Bailey is out of the building - and vice versa. He said the district will not seek to refill the dean of students position vacated by DuBois, but retaining her in a different capacity means that it will not have eliminated or added a position.
The board also approved the request of Lisa Perry, teacher and FBLA adviser, and students to attend the FBLA state convention to be held in Rochester from April 8-11. Shelby Girard was approved as a substitute teacher.