BOE to buy 1 bus, sell 10

ELKINS — The Randolph County Board of Education addressed several matters related to transportation during their regular meeting Tuesday.

The board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a 77-passenger school bus from Matheny Motors. The cost of the demonstrator bus is $96,572.

Brad Smith, director of finance for Randolph County Schools, said the county will be selling 10 buses, which will still leave nine spare buses to use for extra curricular activities such as athletics. Smith also emphasized that the spare buses are available to any school that needs to use them — with easy access as they are housed at schools across the county, including Harman and Tygarts Valley.

In addition to approving the bus purchase, the board also raised questions related to transportation costs during the “accounts payable” portion of the meeting; specifically, Melodee Price, board member, asked about the cost of supplies for the transportation department.

“The thing about transportation expenses is that they are 95 percent reimbursable; so, anything that we spend in transportation, we get back the following year as part of our state aid money,” Smith said in response.

Smith went on to explain that the finance department works with two funds — Fund 11, also known as the “general fund,” and Fund 61, also known as the “grant fund,” adding that a bus allotment from the state level falls under the grant category.

“All costs go into a formula for the next year. So, if transportation costs go up, for example if fuel costs rise, because they have risen, you will see a likewise funding increase for transportation from the state,” Smith said.

Although the allowance amount varies, Superintendent Gabe Devono noted the amount is typically approximately $300,000.

Smith echoed Devono, noting this allowance is for the purchase of items including bus parts such as tires, tubes and other supplies.

Also during Tuesday’s regular meeting:

• The board voted to approve payment to Valley Health Care in the amount of $715. Smith explained these costs cover clinics in schools within the county as well as physicals for employees, specifically those in the transportation department. BOE Vice-President Rachel Anger recused herself from voting on this matter due to the fact that she is employed by Valley Health Care.

• Devono announced that in the upcoming school year, Randolph County Schools will be adopting a new grading scale.

“We talked to the principals about a grading scale the state board has approved — where 90-100 is an ‘A,’ 80-89 is a ‘B’,” he said. “I talked to several other county superintendents around us and they are adopting this scale.

“I talked to the principals today and expressed concern that if we kept the (current scale,) we would be putting our kids at a disadvantage with surrounding counties in competing for scholarships and things of that nature. … The feeling of principals and administration here is to go ahead and change our grading scale,” he said.

All students in the county will be subject to the new grading scale and it will be outlined in the students’ handbooks.

• The board also met in executive session for matters related to personnel for approximately 50 minutes. No decisions were made.

The next regular board meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the county office.