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Transportation Director Speaks to School Board

By Staff | Nov 25, 2015

The Nov. 16 meeting of the Tyler County Board of Education included a presentation by the counties transportation director Troy Smith.

He discussed several concerns, including one involving drivers and their routes. They must be careful not to drive on private bridges.

“Safety of the students is our top priority,” Smith said.

He said driving and turning on private property is a liability issue for the county school board. He said the district has had to replace a beam on one private bridge due to damage caused by a school bus. It also puts the students on the bus at risk.

According to Smith, the county runs 25 buses per day, including two special needs buses. These buses require constant maintenance at a cost of about $10,000 per year. Smith addressed the need for new buses and the costs associated with their purchase.

“New buses cost between $90,000 and $100,000 each, we took a budget cut of $76,210 this year,” he said. “We were only able to purchase one bus this year because of the cut, however, we were able to get another with surplus money.”

He also said a state policy review being considered would require seat belts for children ages 5 and under. He explained that this would eliminate bus seats and require more buses and drivers ,and of course, more expense. He said school bus seats are designed to restrain students. The seats continue to get higher in new buses, which increases safety.

Another concern is state policy limits time for bus travel for students. Elementary students are limited to 30 minutes, while middle school is 45 and high school is 60. Smith said Tyler County students exceed those limits by 15 percent. Board members expressed concern for road conditions, some of the buses’ age and maintenance requirements. Smith again stressed the safety of students is the district’s top concern. He said some Tyler County roads are too narrow for buses to travel, especially when there is oncoming traffic. Board members thanked Smith for his report

In other business, the board approved several policies and requests, including the schedules for the high school 2016 softball and baseball and middle school wrestling teams.

Treasurer Jeff Davis presented budget revisions requests that the board unanimously approved.

Tyler County Middle School Principal Suzette Miller asked the board for permission to allow sixth-graders to try out for the middle school girls’ basketball team. She said, none of the seventh- or eighth-graders had been cut and she was basing her request on numbers only. She said 16 girls are now on the team, which is a concern should any quit, get sick or hurt. The board unanimously approved the request.

Also approved were requests from TCHS biology teacher Joe Griffith and art teacher Joe Semple to take students to upcoming science and art events in Morgantown and Pittsburgh.

All resignations, employments and transfers were unanimously approved.

The next board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, at the board office on Dodd Street, in Middlebourne.