The bus approved for the project was going to be sold at a Nov. 22 surplus school property auction anyway, so the board agreed to trade the one good surplus bus for two older, less mechanically sound buses that had been donated by the school system to Hawkins County EMA a few years ago.
Those two buses will be sold at the surplus sale in place of the new mobile command center bus.
Hawkins County EMA director Gary Murrell told the school board Thursday he’s already got the radio and other electronic equipment for the command center, and only lacks a good vehicle.
“We have some volunteers who have agreed to take this bus and make a mobile command center out of it, which Hawkins County doesn’t have and would never be able to afford to buy,” Murrell said. “We’ve got several thousand dollars’ worth of communications equipment sitting down here in the office now and no place to put it. We just need something we can rely on, and we know this is a good bus.
“The buses that were given in the past were good buses at the time, but they’ve been taken and utilized.”
Director of Schools Charlotte Britton endorsed the trade.
“It’s definitely warranted because EMA have always responded to our schools promptly any time we’ve needed them,” Britton said.
In other business Thursday, the BOE:
• Heard a report from board member Debbie Shedden expressing concern for cheerleaders who travel to visiting games carpooling in personal vehicles with parents driving. Shedden, whose daughter is a cheerleader, asked the board to consider allowing cheerleaders to travel on the school bus with the players.
“For the designated parents we do have a copy of their driver’s license and insurance, but that is the extent of it,” Shedden said. “If anything were to happen, if any of the parents were under the influence or anything else, that’s going to be a big problem.”
Shedden noted that four cheerleaders were killed in a car crash coming home from a postgame party in Hunstville, Tenn.
The board asked Shedden to solicit input from the cheerleading coaches at both main high schools and return to the board in December with a recommendation.
• Heard a report from Britton that five Hawkins County teachers have been awarded a $750 grant each for use in various classroom projects from Eastman Chemical Co.
The teachers are Tammy Webb of Joseph Rogers Primary, Misty Joyner and Melissa McGhee from Church Hill Elementary, and Jason Joyner and Katie Trexler from Church Hill Middle.