More than $3 million for new buses and $100,000 for teacher and staff recruiting were approved by the Columbus school board Feb. 18.

The board also voted to suspend a principal for alleged misconduct.

The board accepted a bid from Rush Truck Center in west Columbus to supply 29 new school buses with updated emission controls to meet federal standards and added safety features.

The new safety features include two rows of child-booster seats with over-the-shoulder seat belts, wheel-speed sensors and forward-looking radar that senses objects in the path of a bus and automatically applies brakes. In addition, four of the buses will be equipped with wheelchair lifts.

The 29 will replace the remaining buses obtained in1992, as well as defective buses purchased after 1992, said Scott Wortman, Columbus City Schools spokesman. The district has 843 buses.

Regarding the principal, the board unanimously voted to suspend Michelle Milner, principal of Columbus Scioto 6-12 School, effective Feb. 19, and will proceed with her formal termination at its March 3 meeting, according to a statement released by the board.

"The board believes Dr. Milner's misconduct ... is wholly contrary to her responsibilities, duties and obligations as an administrator," the resolution stated.

The district contends Milner improperly removed special-education students from school for disciplinary reasons for more than 10 days without abiding by district procedures, Ohio laws and regulations or the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The resolution also states she failed to obey statutory requirements when she directed staff members to send information regarding student absences to other staff members.

The board also approved spending $100,000 in federal program funds for recruitment materials for teachers, principals and staff.

The district will use the funds to develop a marketing strategy to promote Columbus schools as an "employer of choice" in hopes of recruiting and retaining employees, especially in such high-need areas as special education and English as a Second Language programs.

Retention of teachers is a priority for the district, Wortman said.

The district's teacher-retention rate -- about 93% over the past three years -- is average compared with such large districts as Cincinnati and Cleveland, Wortman said.

mwalsh@dispatch.com

@maevewalsh27