Leader Blues

Friday, June 13, 2008

TOP STORY > >Beebe schools told fuel will keep rising

By JEFFREY SMITH
Leader staff writer

The ripple-effect of rising oil prices continues to spread as Hal Crisco, assistant superintendent for maintenance and transportation at Beebe Public School, told the school board during Monday’s meeting to budget more money for fuel costs for next school year.

“This budget year, from the first tanker we bought to the last one we got in May, the cost has gone up $1.70 a gallon.”

“When a 7,500-gallon tanker load of diesel fuel was delivered (to the transportation department), the price averaged to $3.94 a gallon on May 14. Today, it would be over $4,” Crisco said.

“Only thing we can do is be conservative, but there is only so much we can do as a school district,” Crisco later told The Leader.

He said the district is “looking at greatly increasing the (fuel) budget — we’ll have to, it’s a necessity.

Activities are an integral part of the school day and school functions.

“The biggest thing is the amount of money budgeted for fuel cost. I’ll have to look at doubling the budget at a minimum and hope fuel prices go down, but I don’t see that happening.”

The district has 33 bus routes, and on May 14, the district spent an average of $1,000 a day on transportation.

Although the district has had a surplus of funds, to save fuel costs, Crisco and the transportation department will realign routes, consolidate stops and inform bus drivers about fuel conservation methods.

Board members inquired about converting buses to natural gas, but dismissed that option as unavailable when they learned that the cost of a conversion is the same as purchasing a new bus.

In other business, the school board approved a $64,000 bid to renovate Badger Academy, the Alternative Learning Environment building. Dr. Belinda Shook, school superintendent, said the construction costs will be paid with charter school grant money. The renovations were approved, because the district is meeting Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

Tommy Reshel, a parent, addressed the school board about baseball and softball student athletes. Reshel suggested the baseball and softball programs should be included in the school’s seventh-period athletics program. Reshel reasoned it would be easier on the athletes academically, since they would not miss classes. They also would get home earlier after practice to complete homework.

“Baseball players should have the same opportunities as basketball and football athletes. It would be better academically and physically,” Reshel said.

Resignations to the school board were accepted from De-wayne Wammack, 11-12 assistant principal; Randy Kiihnl, PreK-2 assistant principal; Walter King, coach and teacher; Brian Jones, coach and teacher; Jenni Knox, math teacher; Tina Tollison, special-education paraprofessional; Paulette Cummins, cafeteria, Tim Wisinger, maintenance. Resigning from coaching only is Tim Dailey, pee wee basketball; Terry Flenor, softball; Michael Garrett, junior high football. The board approved a one-year leave of absence from Melissa Brown.

The school board approved the hiring of Cathy Boyette, primary cafeteria; Stesha Hill, central cafeteria; Rosa Engler, central cafeteria; Jackie Moore, junior high cafeteria; Lucille Jordan, cafeteria; Mary Faulhaber, cafeteria; Loretta Spears, custodian; Amy Elliott, family and consumer science teacher; David Payne, assistant junior high football coach and teacher, Jeremiah
Quattlebaum, assistant senior high basketball coach and history teacher; Tate Rector, assistant junior high football coach and science or social studies teacher; Richard Clevenger, head junior high football coach and history teacher; Stephanie Watkins, first grade teacher; Dana Johnston, kindergarten teacher. For summer school board members agreed hiring Eli Lowery, math teacher for 14 days and Diana Roventini, English teacher for 16.5 days.