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School board addresses bus concerns

Following some lengthy discussion Monday night, the Chadron Public Schools Board of Education, with member Tye Pourier absent, approved the purchase of a 2004 Blue Bird bus in the amount of $39,500. The bus, which should be delivered in the next few weeks, will help restore some of the dwindling fleet and allow the district to have more reliable transportation than what it currently has.

During the discussion, Transportation Director Will White painted a bleak picture of conditions of the district’s current 2001 bus. White noted there was a leak coming from the bus. The vehicle’s dip stick was pulled and it was discovered it was about four gallons over on oil. After taking it to a mechanic who pulled the oil pan, two rings were found to be leaking and the best guess estimate to overhaul and fix the issue was $10,000-15,000.

“That’s without getting into details on the rest of the cylinders,” White said. He later added the district is in a hard spot, having to borrow a bus from Crawford Public Schools, which only has two busses. The Chadron district’s ’85 bus has also been used for trips, though White hated to put it on the road.

“It’ll get you there and get you home,” he said, adding with a laugh, “As they say, put your foot in it when you leave town and don’t take it out until you’re there.”

He reached out to representatives from bus companies Blue Bird and Thomas, both of whom quoted for new and used busses.

The prices for the new busses were about $151,000 for the Blue Bird and about $154,000 for the Thomas model. It was also noted during the meeting that, due to order back logs and the bus release schedule, the new bus would be a 2023 model.

The possibility of leasing a new bus was also raised, though later tabled until the board’s November meeting to allow time to gather more information. However, a leased bus would not available until May of 2022.

The Building and Grounds Committee recommended pursuing the purchase of a new bus, to keep with the district’s rotation schedule.

The board indicated it would look into paying for the bus with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSR) money, but other options would be to pay for the used bus now from the General Fund, and pay for the new bus using Depreciation or another fund.

The board also approved a bid from Metal Products to complete work on the HVAC system at the high school. In regard to the HVAC system, it was pointed out the work will be paid with ESSR money. Though the bid did not include electrical work for the system, Superintendent Ginger Meyer said she would like to get the mechanical parts ordered. She further pointed out only one electrician has come in to look at the system, but also found some things that could be done to help with the locker room.

A bid was also approved to improve the high school locker room. Though the electrician who came to look at the HVAC system was able to get one of the exhaust fans working, it was indicated this is not enough. More information will be forthcoming at the next Building and Grounds meeting.

The bid for the locker room covers $400 for sinks and $1,500 for countertops.

Also at the meeting, the board deleting language from Policy 4119.31, Duties of Personnel. The deleted language eliminates a redundancy that teachers would be terminated upon failure to register their certificate after 60 days. Superintendent Meyer noted after 60 days, if someone doesn’t have a certificate, he or she should not be teaching.

Language was also eliminated requiring teachers to be warm, flexible, tolerant, interested in students and to have a sense of humor, as it was questionable as to how such things could be measured and standardized.

Policies 4119.32, Line of Authority, and 4119.33, Registration of Professional Certificate, were deleted due to redundancy.

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