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Oktibbeha County schools consider buying buses in 2011


Bonnie Coblentz



Oktibbeha County school officials closed out the 2010 business year Monday night with a discussion of their wellness policy, school bus needs and a goodbye to board member Yvette Rice.  


All board members were present for the scheduled meeting. At the close of it, they said farewell with a small reception for four-year board member Rice. 


"We want to say thanks to Ms. Rice for her endeavors for the children of the Oktibbeha County School District," said Superintendent James Covington as he wished her well in future endeavors.  


"I trust that the right things will be done ... for students ... because it''s important," Rice said in reply.  


Covington gave the board an update on the status of the school bus fleet, saying some buses are from the late ''90s and no new or replacement buses have been bought since fall 2007. Before that, the last time the district bought buses was in 2001 when it purchased about 10 or 11, Covington said.  


"Here we are eight or nine years later. Our fleet is aging," Covington said. "We''re putting a lot of miles on our buses. We''re traveling more distances since we have more kids."  


At the January meeting, Covington intends to have information on a source of quality used buses and a proposal for how the district can pay for them. The district has two or three spare buses which are pulled into service whenever a regular bus is out of commission. Covington said he would like to buy four more buses, one for each school, in the 2011-2012 budget year.  


"(The transportation staff) are doing a pretty good job keeping up, but as the years pass by, our fleet is aging," he said.  


The board made plans to perform their own annual self-evaluation before the next meeting and prepare for the annual superintendent''s evaluation.  


They also heard details of the district''s wellness policy, a document that must be adopted each year spelling out numerous details of health and wellness activities within the district. This plan includes everything from the long-range plan to rid the district of deep-fat friers, the commitment to regular physical activity for all students, school nurses and counselors on staff to effort to encourage staff, families and students to eat healthier.  


The board handled several other matters of mostly routine business before moving into closed session to handle personnel matters related to new employment. They will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3 in the central office.




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