Lisbon Schools renewing drug-testing program; expanding online school


Staff Writer

LISBON – The Lisbon school district will renew its drug-testing program and online school for a third year after the board voted to do so at this week’s meeting.

Implemented at the start of the 2012-13 school year, the policy requires all student participating in sports to be tested for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and tobacco, among other things. Students participating in non-athletic activities are subject to random tests, with 20 percent chosen during the testing period. Athletes are also to be included in the random testing.

Anyone testing positive is allowed to continue participating if they enroll in a treatment/counseling program and stay clean. A third violation results in a one-year suspension from participation, and fourth violation will result in a permanent ban.

Superintendent Don Thompson told the board they have been pleased with the program, especially its emphasis on treatment over punishment.

Lisbon’s online school was begun the same year in an attempt to stop the loss of students to cyber schools and the state funding that goes with them – $5,700 per student.

Online coordinator Jim Watt reported at the April board meeting that of the 27 students who started the year enrolled in the program, only four withdrew. Approximately 26 students completed the online school the previous year. Meanwhile, the number of Lisbon students attending other cyber schools has dropped from 61 to 15 over the past several years.

Lisbon’s online school is being expanded this upcoming year to include an elementary school curriculum because they have 14 elementary school students currently enrolled in other cyber schools.

Thompson said the online school is paying off all the way around, noting it costs $30,00 to $35,000 per year, which includes the portion of Watt’s salary counted towards the program. Retaining 23 students resulted in an additional $131,110 in state funding for the district that would have likely gone to another cyber school.

In other action, the board formally agreed to join with three other school districts to share bus services, starting this fall. The other districts are Beaver Local, the county Educational Service Center and the county Board of Developmental Disabilities. Thompson said joining with the others to share dispatching and other services is expected to save the district $10,000 per year.

The board also awarded the following head coaching contracts for the fall sports season: football, Jim Tsilimos; volleyball, Cara Nyardy; golf, Jason Thompson; cross country, Jim Watt.

Thompson said Watt is the only new addition, and he replaces Kathy Randolph, who took a job in the Southern Local school district.