MURPHY, N.C. – The Cherokee County Board of Education met Thursday night, Nov. 9, to discuss many items on the agenda. One of the biggest items of the night was introduced by board member, Winfield Clonts, for the approval to use $270,000 from the half-cent sales tax fund to purchase new activity buses for the school system.
“I can’t imagine using one of these older buses, and something happening to the brakes or something that happened that needs to be replaced. It’s been 20 years; we need to step it up and start replacing these vehicles,” said Clonts.
The Board agreed they needed five activity buses. At $88,954 per bus, the Board felt the half-cent sales tax fund could be used to purchase three and asked the County Commissioners for the other two buses, bringing a total to five new buses for the schools. Special emphasis was made that County Commissioner Cal Stiles be present for the BOE meeting, and he shared the sense of urgency to replace the buses that are currently being used every day.
The current mini-buses in use are from 1998. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) gives a 20-year or 250,000-mile life expectancy for the county buses. It was noted that the buses are all approaching the end of their expectancies.
As of now, the county currently has 13 buses. That is five mini-buses and eight large buses. Out of the 13 buses, one is out of service.
The Board did discuss how to recycle the used buses once the new ones were purchased. One idea put forth was the possibility to use the buses at the Tri County Early College, or for the middle schools in the county. Also noted was the possibility to sell those buses depending on the condition. The DPI limits for how much a bus can sell. The minimum amount is $2,600.
The potential purchases of the activity buses will be forwarded to the Board of Commissioners for approval.
The next Board of Education meeting will take place on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Central Office at 911 Andrews Rd. Murphy, NC 28906.