The Carroll County School Board will have to pay out a $5,000 deductible to a grandparent of one of its students after a bus backed into the vehicle while picking up another student.
Superintendent Billy Joe Ferguson said it had rained and there was a big pool of water. “The bus driver didn’t want the student to step in the puddle of water,” he said.
Ferguson said the driver backed up to allow the student to get on the bus safely. Simultaneously, the child’s grandparent pulled in behind the bus because the child missed the bus.
“Well, the bus driver started backing up and he didn’t see the vehicle,” Ferguson said. He said the bus backed into the car, a small Kia Rio.
He said Transportation Director DeWitt Cobbins called him to the scene and another bus came and picked up the children and took them to school.
Ferguson said Cobbins and other transportation workers then stayed on scene because the transmission in the same bus, among other problems, went out.
“We don’t give our bus drivers enough credit,” Ferguson said. “To be a bus driver is a great responsibility, and we don’t pay them what they’re worth. We can’t pay them what they’re worth, but they are a great asset to us.”
The board also approved paying for the repairs for the bus, totaling in $9,000.
Also, board member Donnie Wiltshire raised questions about three contractual faculty members that are also ex-Carroll County teachers.
Wiltshire said the board did not approve them and does not see why the district is paying them.
“They don’t work for us,” Ferguson said. “They’re contracted. When you approved the project, you approved them also. We don’t pay their benefits, insurance or anything else. They’re paid out of a grant and the grant was just approved.”
“Is it taxpayer money?” Wiltshire asked.
“No, it’s grant money” Ferguson said.
Assistant Business Administrator MiMi Alldread said it’s similar to contracted personnel with the special education program.
“We have occupational therapist that come in and help with the children, and you all don’t approve them, we also have physical therapist that come and help and you don’t approve them either,” Alldread said.
Wiltshire questioned again how they were paid.
“They’re contracted, when the project was approved, they were approved,” Alldread said.
Wiltshire said he called and spoke with someone from the Mississippi Department of Education, and he was told it couldn’t happen that way.
“I have a question for Mr. Wiltshire,” Board member Laura Davis said. “When you saw this did you speak with someone at the superintendent’s office?”
He said he spoke with someone but they didn’t know why the three contractual faculty members were being paid.
Davis asked him if he spoke to Ferguson, and Wiltshire said he could not reach him.
Davis then motioned for the board to approve the docket of claims with Wiltshire’s questioned expenses, and it was second by Board Member Stella Washington-Bell. It passed unanimously.