School officials to meet with Boys & Girls Club personnel to iron out transportation issues

The Grady County Board of Education this week instructed the school superintendent and the operations director to meet with officials with the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club to discuss issues related to the transporting of club members from county schools to the Boys & Girls Club located at Holder Park.
During Tuesday night’s meeting board members questioned school system Operations Director Jerry Cox about the procedures involved in transporting students to the Boys & Girls Club.
According to School Superintendent Lee M. Bailey, the school board previously agreed to provide club members with transportation from school to the club. However, Bailey said that was intended as a temporary arrangement until the club could provide a properly licensed bus driver.
“We are currently diverting five buses from their regular routes to make stops at the Boys & Girls Club and there have been some discipline issues on those buses and it delays other children from getting home earlier,” Superintendent Bailey said.
Operations Director Cox said that one bus could safely transport the club members daily, but he said two pickups from Southside Elementary School might be necessary to accommodate the 80 to 100 club members from the in-city schools who routinely participate in club activities.
Compounding the problem for Cox and his department is a shortage of bus drivers.
“We just put three new ones on and we lost one so we netted two. We’re still looking for good drivers for anyone interested in a part-time job,” Cox said.
Board member Drew Pyrz asked if the school system had a bus that could be used exclusively to transport children to the Boys & Girls Club.
According to Cox, the school system does have a bus that could be used if the Boys & Girls Club could provide a driver.
Board member Teresa Gee Harris urged Cox and Superintendent Bailey to schedule a meeting with Art Allen, who is the head of not only the Boys & Girls Club here but also the Marguerite Neel Williams Boys & Girls Club in Thomasville to discuss the situation and bring back a recommendation to the board.
“Let Mr. Allen know what we are facing and come up with a plan. You need to get with him and come up with a deadline for them to get someone trained. If you don’t give a deadline to meet folks don’t work on meeting the deadline,” Ms. Harris said.
The school board also authorized the purchase of a new 54-passenger school bus equipped for transporting special needs children at a cost of $99,338. Of that total $77,220 will come out of state funds and $22,118 will come out of federal money appropriated to the school system for special education.
Board members also unanimously approved declaring six buses as surplus and authorized Cox to begin the process of selling the surplus vehicles to the highest bidder.

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