The Saratoga Sun -

By Tom Dixon 

School district moves bus talks to the front

 

Carbon County School District No. 2 Board of Trustees looked into a couple different ways to keep the wheels on their buses going round and round at their November meeting Monday, first by talking about offering some drivers benefits, and then by mulling hiring a district mechanic to do the maintenance and repair work on their fleet.

“We always have a need for bus drivers,” Superintendent Bob Gates said. “(We) have been talking about ways to expand the number of bus drivers. Through the process of analyzing aspects of drivers and the like, we found we have a couple drivers, maybe three, who are, on a regular basis, over 30 hours, so we need to offer health benefits.”

Gates said that recommendation was based on district policy and so, starting Jan. 1, those drivers will be receiving health benefits. Gates hoped the renewed commitment to employee policy would give people a new incentive for becoming bus drivers.

“It probably won’t give us all the help we need,” Gates said. “We’re having trouble covering all the routes and all the activities. As you know, we have kids going all over the place.”

Fortunately for the board, the district will not have to bear the extra cost because the state of Wyoming reimburses transportation costs, including benefits.

Gates also told the board all the district’s vehicles will now be going to Saratoga to be repaired, but he proposed hiring a district mechanic whose only job would be taking care of the fleet.

The district has 42 buses and about 20 other school vehicles, like maintenance trucks. Some members expressed doubt one person would be enough, but Gates said one person would have to do.

“With what we’re doing, one person is going to have to be enough, it’s one person in Saratoga right now,” Gates said. “Rawlins has three with about the same number of vehicles.”

On top of adding a mechanic, Gates suggested looking to buying a facility in Saratoga with the right equipment for maintaining the vehicles because the bus barn does not have those capabilities.

The facility would also be 100 percent reimbursable, according to Gates.

Carbon 2 has a proposal in front of the School Facilities Commission asking for an exception that would allow the district to keep the junior high gym in Hanna.

School Facilities Commission rules only allow for about 23,500 feet for the new Hanna Elementary School, but the district wants to retain the old junior high gym. The plan calls for stripping the gym of its boiler room and annex, leaving about 9,000 square feet, which would put the total building area at about 27,000 feet.

“If approved, the state will pay to renovate the gym,” Gates said. “If it’s not approved, it is considered an enhancement and the district will have to pay.”

The gym needs electric work, a new roof and natural gas heating, though Gates emphasized the floor and structure of the building are still in good shape. The commission will make a decision Dec. 19.

“Basically, we got our cake and ate it too is what happened,” Gates said.

“Hopefully,” board member Kay Lynn Palm added.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is Dec. 17, 4 p.m., at the central office in Saratoga.

 

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