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Students return to classes

School districts in Crawford County are gearing up for back to school with classes set to begin Monday.

At least three school districts - Van Buren, Alma and Cedarville - are looking to beef up security at their schools.

Alma is proposing a millage increase to residents for added security at its four schools, to be voted on during the school elections in September.

“I told board members, our job is - what we need to be sure we do - is that we make sure the voters are informed,” said Superintendent David Woolly.

Alma school officials are asking district voters to increase the district’s property tax millage by 1.2 mills for the extra security. The increase would add an estimated $196,160 a year in revenues, with $135,000 going toward salaries for three additional school resource officers, while $60,960 would go toward debt payment on a $1.3 million bond.

Money from the bond would cover costs of installing security cameras, enclosing open-space classrooms, and entrance and office changes at all four schools.

Woolly and other school officials have been trying to get the word out about the proposed millage increase, and handed out fliers at their back-to-school open house Wednesday night, Woolly said.

Superintendent Dan Foreman at Cedarville said the school district is looking to put in a new synced security surveillance system at its schools. Deputy Superintendent Kerry Schneider said Van Buren also is working to increase security at its schools, but did not say what those increased measures are.

Mulberry-Pleasant View Bi-County School District is providing school supplies to its students for the third year in a row, said Superintendent Dana Higdon.

Students kindergarten to 12th grade will get all necessary supplies except for backpacks and lunch boxes, Higdon said.

Mountainburg Superintendent Dennis Copeland wanted to remind drivers to be cautious in school zones and around school buses.

“One thing I want to remind everyone, please be looking out for the students that will be crossing the road and loading and unloading from buses,” Copeland said.

Copeland added that it is important for drivers to realize when they’re in a school zone and to follow the rules of the road.

While official enrollment numbers are not yet available, Schneider, Woolly and Copeland said their numbers seem to be holding steady. Higdon said enrollment at Mulberry-Pleasant View may be up this year.

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