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RCS BOE hopes new figures help break impasse on county bus contract

April 8th, 2014 11:19 pm by Jeff Bobo

RCS BOE hopes new figures help break impasse on county bus contract

ROGERSVILLE — Negotiating teams from Rogersville City School and Hawkins County Schools have reached an impasse regarding a transportation contract, but the city school is hoping some new information will lean the county in their favor.

Approximately 125 RCS students are transported by Hawkins County school buses every day.

Last year, Hawkins County Schools sent RCS a $90,000 transportation bill for the 2012-13 school that was rejected by the RCS BOE at the behest of school Director Rebecca Isaacs due to it being $12,000 more than the previous school year and $9,000 more than RCS had approved in its budget for student busing.

Following a lengthy negotiation, both boards agreed to split the difference and then meet to come up with a permanent transportation contract.

So far those meetings have not produced an agreement.

Isaacs told her BOE on Tuesday that the Transportation Committee that has been meeting with Hawkins County had asked for some concessions on the busing bill based on the county taxes that city residents pay directly into the school transportation fund.

Isaacs said she received information Tuesday from Hawkins County Trustee Patsy Courtney that the amount of real and personal property taxes paid by Rogersville residents that goes directly into the Hawkins County Schools transportation fund annually is $189,979

County Clerk Carroll Jenkins also provided Isaacs with the figure of $9,142 from the wheel tax that Rogersville residents pay into the county school transportation fund — for an overall figure of $199,120.

"This is the first time I've actually seen the definitive figures, and these are accurate figures," Isaacs told her BOE. "To see that, and to give me an awareness, I feel like that same awareness will be shared by others."

RCS BOE Chairman Reed Matney asked Isaacs to coordinate with the Hawkins County BOE to schedule another meeting in hopes of completing an agreement before 2014-15 budgets are finalized.

"I think now that we've got some real numbers it would be prudent to sit down with their board and try to come to some agreement," Matney said. "I would suggest that we get the two full boards together so that we can make a decision, and we won't have to go back and forth. I think it's time to sit down, lay the facts on the table and decide what is the best thing to do for everyone. We're all taxpayers, county and city."

Vice Chairman Todd Biggs said he would like to see members of the Rogersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen and County Commission involved in that meeting as well.

"This has been an ongoing issue for a long time, and it's not going to be an easy fix," Biggs said.

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