But the Hawkins County Board of Education took action Thursday night that should prevent alternative school overcrowding in the future.
The board approved a low bid of $396,255 from Terry Glass Construction Thursday for renovation of the old vocational building on the Rogersville Middle School campus into a permanent eight-room alternative school. That building most recently was used as a maintenance shop, but it was a vocational building until the old Rogersville High School became RMS in the early 1980s.
Director of Schools Clayton Armstrong reported to the BOE that the current temporary alternative school, which is located in three modular units on the RMS campus, is filled to capacity with 72 students. Armstrong said there are 11 students who have not been in school recently because they are waiting for space in the alternative school to become available.
At Armstrong's request, the BOE voted unanimously to decrease the minimum alternative school stay from 30 days to 20 days for students who haven't violated a zero-tolerance policy.
The shorter stays will only last until the end of the school year, however, because the school district is anticipating the completion of the permanent alternative school by Aug. 1.
An Aug. 1 deadline was written into the bid specifications and calls for a penalty to be paid by the construction company for every day the project is late. When the school year ends in May, the district will be returning the three alternative school modular units, which have been costing the system about $32,000 annually to lease.
In other business Thursday the BOE:
â€¢Finalized its schedule for approval of the phase three building project. Initially the plan was to meet May 3 for final approval of the plan, but that was changed because not every board member will be available to attend May 3.
The board will still meet in a workshop session April 12 to discuss the final plans, and then will request a joint workshop meeting with the Hawkins County Commission to present the plans to commissioners. After that joint meeting, the board will meet in a special session to give final approval of the plans, which will then be submitted for commission approval in May.
â€¢Agreed to table consideration of bids for the purchase of the old bus garage until the April 26 meeting. Armstrong explained that the school district is awaiting final environmental clearance on the property from the state before considering the final sale. Two bids of $200,000 and $209,000 have already been submitted, and one sealed bid won't be opened until April 26.
Board members Randy Collier and Charles Fuller voted against tabling the sale. Both said afterward they wanted to open the sealed bid Thursday.
â€¢Agreed to add discussion of a new school bus policy to the April 12 workshop agenda. Buildings Supervisor Jim Hageman reported to the board that after a school bus was involved in a minor accident last week on Route 94 north of Rogersville, some students were taken home from the stranded bus site by persons other than their parents.
Hageman said it took quite awhile for the Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper to arrive on the scene, and although there was another bus brought to the area to carry those students home, it couldn't leave until after the trooper arrived.As a result, some children reportedly caught rides home with passing neighbors, and the parents of some of those who caught rides called the Central Office with concerns. If the children had been involved in another accident on the way home, the school district would have been liable, Hageman said. The board will discuss a new policy to deal with those types of situations.
â€¢Accepted board member Randy Collier's resignation. Collier's resignation takes effect today. He moved recently from District 3, which he'd represented, into District 2. The board also recognized Collier with gifts and a plaque of appreciation for his service over the past five years.