School Board Seeks To Work Out Details with City and County on Plan to Direct Traffic in Two School Zones
The DeKalb County Board of Education appears to be willing to join in a partnership with the City of Smithville and County Commission to appropriate funds toward the cost of hiring someone to direct traffic in the school zone at Northside Elementary and possibly at the high school subject to agreement on final details.
During Thursday night's school board meeting, seventh district member Johnny Lattimore made a motion that a committee be appointed to meet with county and city officials and " if everybody agrees to everything, the director of schools and (school board) chairman can take executive action to issue those funds to cover our part of it. Then we can vote on it next month."
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Chairman Charles Robinson appointed board members Billy Miller and Kenny Rhody and he will ask Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins III, who was absent Thursday night, to also be on the committee.
School board members apparently discussed this issue in a workshop on Tuesday night but it was not on the regular meeting agenda Thursday night. Third district member Kenny Rhody brought it up near the end of the meeting and Lattimore suggested that it first be referred to committee before taking board action. "Money is not the issue. It's how we pay the people that are going to direct the traffic. I think it would be a good idea to form a committee to meet with the county commission and the city council to discuss the details and work it out because if not we're just going to be passing it back from one meeting to the next. Everybody needs to sit down and iron out all the details."
Fourth district member Billy Miller said he started doing some checking after concerns had been raised about liability.."I've done some checking today. I think an issue was whether or not it would be a liability to each department or not. If it was set up as a 1099 tax form where it was contractual labor, the liability goes back to the person who is actually doing it in the state roadway. There is also a one day training that each individual has to take that is put on by the state at no cost to the county. Each one will have an insurance that will cover them for the liability. As far as wrecks, school zones, I checked with state, county, and city officials today and there is nothing any more special about a school zone than any other public highway. Accidents work the same way. There is no more liability. When humans are involved, humans are going to err and there may be accidents out there but I still think that having somebody out there will far outweigh what it would be if we didn't have anybody out there."
Lattimore responded, "I agree Mr. Miller but I think it would be better if everybody just sat down at a meeting and discussed it."
Sixth district member Bruce Parsley asked "Hasn't the city and county already approved it?
Lattimore answered, "They've already approved it but nobody has said who is going to take care of the payroll issue of it. That's what needs to be discussed."
Rhody interjected, "The city's went ahead and put their good faith money up. The county has already done theirs. I think they're just waiting on us to approve our part. We (should) all sit down and iron out all the details."
Miller also addressed the issue of the man hours involved. "I think there is a concern on how many hours they would be out there. I think everybody at this point and time is looking at somebody at Northside and the high school and down from two hours (at one school) to one hour (per day at each school). I spoke with some city officials today and there's not an issue with the city handling that as far as having them come in and clock in. They can check in on the (police) radio and clock their time in and out because we (school system) don't have anybody here at seven o'clock in the morning. If somebody calls in sick or there needs to be a replacement, we wouldn't be able to provide that but the city would. It's my understanding from the conversations I've had with them (city officials) that this would not be an issue to do that if we were willing to put up our third of the monies."
The DeKalb County Commission last month voted 12-2 to appropriate up to three thousand dollars a year toward the cost of hiring someone to direct traffic in the school zone at Northside Elementary and possibly at the high school.
The Smithville Aldermen voted to make the same $3,000 appropriation last month (for Northside Elementary) with the understanding that the county and school board would each fund one third of the costs as well.Read the rest of this article