The Carroll County School District is purchasing three new buses to replace three of their buses that are old and in disrepair. Superintendent Billy Joe told board members they took the buses to Waters Truck and Tractor in Kosciusko.
Ferguson said they received a letter from Waters stating that the floors of the bus were rusted and “daylight could be seen in the aisle and at the front.” Ferguson said the letter went on to say “as a dealer, we cannot fix these buses.”
“They told us to let them know if we needed anything else,” he said.
“Why are the floors rusted? Are the kids standing on them too long? Is water getting in them? How are the floors rusted?” Board president Kenneth DeLoach asked.
“Probably because they’re 19-year-old buses,” Board member Stella Washington-Bell said.
DeLoach said the condition of the buses have never been mentioned before and he wanted to know why.
“This is my first time hearing about the buses,” he said. “Y’all have never mentioned the buses.”
Ferguson said he didn’t know why the floors had rusted and the condition of the buses has been mentioned previously.
“We have eight buses, four of them are in use. Three of them are dangerous and we have to do something about them, and the others are used for parts and are junk buses,” Ferguson said.
Pate Shackelford with the Bank of Commerce told board members that he and Ferguson had discussed doing a lease-purchase for the buses and Ferguson told him the price of a new bus is around $87,000. He told board members that the interest would be set at 3.9 percent and their first payment wouldn’t be due until sometime in February 2020.
“That’s what Brent had said but we need to change it, that’s fine,” Shackelford said.
The board voted 4-1 to purchase the buses, with DeLoach opposing.
“Thank God!” One of the bus drivers said after the vote.
Also, Washington-Bell questioned the band handbook stating that it was verbatim the handbook of the Calhoun City High School Band.
“The band had one last year, but I don’t think it was approved by the board. So, I told them I would bring it to the board,” Ferguson said.
Washington-Bell told Ferguson the band didn’t have a handbook last year and that she thinks it needed to be read through some before presenting it to the board.
“A lot of this stuff doesn’t apply to our children and our children’s needs,” she said, adding that it came directly from the Calhoun County School District. Washington-Bell said the only difference was the principal’s name, director’s name, the border used, the name of the school and the mascot.
“Is that a bad thing?” Wiltshire asked.
“No, it’s not a bad thing, and I’m not saying we don’t need one but it doesn’t apply to our kids,” she said, adding that Carroll County has families that are low-income and may not be able to afford what the handbook is asking.
She said there was a fee for the usage of the instruments. “If a child bought their own instrument, they paid for it, but they didn’t pay for it if it was the school’s instrument,” Washington-Bell said.
“Well, I think that the Beat 5 member, Mrs. Green, and the band director should all sit down and discuss it before it’s brought to us for a vote,” Wiltshire said.
“And, I have no problem doing it,” Washington-Bell said.
The board approved the three sitting down and discussing the band handbook and how to make it fit the needs of the Carroll County School District.
Ferguson also asked the board to request $105,000 from the Carroll County Supervisors as part of their millage request. Last year, the district requested $60,000, and Ferguson asked the board to request $45,000 more.
He said right now, Marshall Elementary is down several aides and assistant teachers and said he believes the scores could be better if the teachers had the help they needed. He said he wanted the money to be used to help in the district.
However, there was a discussion of how Brett Reynolds came up with the millage. Reynolds said he met with Tony Green with the Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District and came up with the numbers.
“Tony told me that he didn’t give him these numbers,” Board member Donnie Wiltshire said. The question of where the numbers came from went on.
“If the Superintendent is asking us to request the money, I think we should do it and move on,” Phillips said. “And let the supervisors do their job. It’s not our job to determine if the numbers are right or if we are or aren’t going to raise taxes. That’s the supervisors’ job, let them do their job.”