Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 11, 2013

School system looks to attract bus drivers

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor

CROSSVILLE — The transportation department is looking for ways to attract more school bus drivers, with subs, teachers, coaches and maintenance workers helping to cover all the school system bus routes. One possibility is helping to defray the cost of obtaining a CDL license, about $250, for new drivers.

The Cumberland County Board of Education approved a budget amendment Nov. 22 that would provide $2,500 remaining from the purchase of buses to start providing the benefit.

Sandy Brewer, 3rd District representative, said, "I have no problem offering an incentive to get people to drive. The problem is, if you pay up front, you're going to see in a couple of months some of them will be gone. Can it be held behind in payroll?"

Richard Janeway, 2nd District representative, said he'd like to see a plan for rewarding those drivers who had given many years of service and perhaps helping them to defray the cost of renewing their license.

The school system has two full-time routes being covered by sub drivers and others at this time.

Rolf Weeks, representative of the parent-teacher association, suggested a contract that said drivers would be reimbursed after six months of service.

"Pay $150 toward the cost now and then when they complete their obligation, they get the other $100."

David Bowman moved to approve the budget amendment, with the provision details regarding reimbursement be worked out through administrative procedures. The motion was approved with Janeway voting no.

Two bid items on the agenda were pulled, awaiting further details and information — repair of drainage at the Cumberland County High School and construction of a drainage ditch at Martin Elementary.

The board approved appointments to the Discipline Hearing Authority — Tim Clafin, Wendell Wilson, Keena Inman, Christie Thompson, Rebecca Farley, Sharon Daniels, Michelle England, Janet Graham and Scott Maddox. The principals serve on a rotating basis, with no more than five voting members per session.

Janeway said, "We are heavily relying on our principals for the disciplinary hearings. I would like more involvement form the community or non-principals in the DHA process."

Janeway said he was concerned about the perception in the community of principals serving on the committee.

Bowman said, "I know all of the people on that list. I don't feel any of them would back up a principal just to back them up. They'll make decisions based on what's right."

Dan Schlafer, 9th District representative, said he did not like taking a principal out of his or her building to serve on the DHA.

"It's not a short process to hear all sides of an issue," Schlafer said.

Josh Stone, 4th District representative, noted decisions of the hearing authority required some knowledge of rules and laws.

Gordon Davis, 5th District representative, added, "Principals have a better understanding of what's happening in the schools."

The motion to approve the appointments passed 6 to 3, with Janeway, Schlafer and Brewer voting no.

In other action, the board approved the following:

•School-wide fundraiser at North Cumberland Elementary Dec. 9-13, Santa's Secret Shop, to raise funds for instructional supplies, technology and student rewards;

•South Cumberland Elementary grant application to VECustomers Share to assist in the cost of an overnight field trip for sixth-grade students;

•Tennessee Arts Commission Grant of $678 for Martin Elementary to be used for ticket funding or a visiting artist for the school;

•Copier service contract for Southern Technical Services for Stone Memorial High School;

•Overnight field trip for the SMHS wrestling team Dec. 6-7, Feb. 7-8 and Feb. 13-15;

•Overnight field trip for South Cumberland Elementary April 25 to the state capitol, Parthenon and Adventure Science Center in Nashville.;

•Overnight and out-of-state trip for the CCHS boy's varsity basketball team to travel to Hilton Head, SC, for a tournament Dec. 20-23;

•Overnight trip for the CCHS baseball team April 16-19 for a series of baseball games; and

•Disposal of surplus equipment at Crab Orchard, North Cumberland and South Cumberland elementary schools and the Career and Technical Education program.