The DeKalb County School System is looking into the possibility of purchasing an electric powered school bus for transporting handicapped students.
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, during Thursday night's school board meeting, said that a representative of a company that produces electric school buses will be meeting with him and Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague next week to discuss the issue further.
According to Director Willoughby if the school system were to buy an electric bus, it could be the first school system in the state to have one
The school system is apparently in need of a bus for handicapped students but they're expensive. "A handicapped bus costs over $100,000 that we're bidding out," said Willoughby. But if grant funds can be secured, the cost to the local system might be as little as $15,000. According to Willoughby, that's all some districts in California have had to shell out to get one. "California has only $15,000 in this electric bus," he said.
By going green with an electric bus, Willoughby said the school system would save on fuel costs and maintenance. "These electric buses have been very successful as handicapped buses. They will run approximately 80 miles before a recharge. There's no fuel costs, no oil, and little to no maintenance," said Willoughby.
He said the people he'll be meeting with next week have their own grant writers and would help in writing the grant for the school system.
Meanwhile, the school board Thursday night adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring Professional Services Staff including school nurses, guidance counselors, school resource officers, psychologists, speech therapists, and others.
PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO SEE THREE PRINCIPALS ADDRESSING SCHOOL BOARD
Board chairman Charles Robinson read the following resolution:
"Whereas, the DeKalb County School System is dedicated to showing appreciation for our special services staff members that include guidance counselors, librarians, school nurses, school resource officers, school psychologists, speech and hearing specialists, and others;
Whereas, the special services staff members in DeKalb County Schools are responsible for the safety and welfare of our students;
Whereas, this group of professionals serve a very important role in providing a variety of special services to our students on a daily basis;
Whereas the DeKalb County Board of Education wishes to honor the special services staff members for their commitment and loyalty to their students and schools.
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Education hereby establishes March 15 as Special Services Staff Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County Schools; and
Be it further resolved that the Board of Education expresses our appreciation to all the school employees who provide special services in our school system. We encourage each school and community to recognize these individuals for their role in the success of our school system.
In other business, the board approved articulation agreements with the Tennessee Technology Center at Murfreesboro in the areas of Industrial Electrical Maintenance Computer Information Technology, Computer Information Systems Online, Computer Operations, Automotive Technology, and Computer Aided Drafting.
Brad Leach, Career and Technical Education Director,in addressing the board Thursday night said that through these agreements high school students, upon successfully demonstrating competency in certain high school courses, may be awarded a specific number of contact hours at the tech center in Murfreesboro in those course offerings. "We've been working for about two years with the Tennessee Technology Center in Murfreesboro to take competencies and standards in our courses and to tie them into courses that are at the Tennessee Technology Center in Murfreesboro and these are the agreements that we've reached and signed. What this basically says is that the courses that we're teaching at the high school will be in line with the courses at the technology center and they will award us so many hours of credit in these particular courses, depending upon the courses students take in high school. It's a win win situation for the kids. It's a great thing especially for the kids going to the technology center. These are students that have graduated and are now attending the tech center," said Leach.
Stephanie Walker, School Nutrition Supervisor, said the school system is participating in a contest this month with other districts through the Fuel up to Play 60 initiative to get more students to participate in the breakfast program.
Walker said If your children eat every day for the month of March and their school wins the contest then their name will be put in a drawing for two 2012-2013 Tennessee Titans Tickets. If your child eats everyday for a week their name will be in a drawing for free items each Friday for the month of March. (PLAY VIDEO BELOW TO LEARN MORE)
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the board on personnel.
Those employed since the last meeting include:
Brenda Bandy, Special Education Assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Tammy Ferrell, custodian at DeKalb Middle School
Jeremy Haas, custodian at DeKalb Middle School
Gary Caplinger, teacher at DCHS
Debra Londan, substitute bus assistant
Brenda Bandy, Special Educational Assistant from Smithville Elementary School to DCHS
J. Annette Davis, Special Education Assistant DCHS
Charles Cantrell, custodian at DeKalb Middle School