HOUSTON – School buses are very specialized machines and while they are designed to be safe and reliable, they do break and wear out.
The Houston School District board of trustees were presented with a low bid of $20,000 to replace an engine in a 2009 International and were concerned with the price to fix a cracked cylinder.
“That is part of the reason I brought this invoice before you,” said Chad Spence, Assistant Superintendent for Houston Schools. “I was told by our mechanics and the company that these buses have a ‘throw-away’ engine. When they break or wear out you are supposed to put another one in there.”
Spence said he checked with several local shops to determine costs and the possibility of getting the engine rebuilt.
“We use two buses for ball games and this is actually one of our newer buses,” said Spence. “This one ran hot and we’ve got to get it rolling and back on line.”
Spence said the bus had a 50,000-mile warranty and just topped the 63,000-mile mark.
“I would love to fix it ourselves, but that is not what our people have suggested or the company has suggested,” said Spence. “We need that bus back so we can use it.”
The high bid for the new engine was $22,0000.
On a motion by Trustee Carol Byrne and a second by Trustee Thomas Howell the board voted unanimously to replace the engine.
In other busines:
• Trustees approved chaperones and teachers to go on a Health Science class field trip to St. Jude Research Hospital and the Memphis Zoo on Oct. 10.
• The district approved 63 private driveways as school bus turnarounds. The driveways can now be legally graveled and maintained by Chickasaw County supervisors.
• The board approved seven changes to the district’s policy manual.
The changes are prompted by changes in state and federal legislation and the district’s effort to rely more on current and constantly updated policy to direct actions by the board.
“This is part of a list of about 40 changes that I will be bringing to you over the next couple of months,” said Barbara Cook, central office administrative assistant. “I will probably be bringing about five each time we meet.”
• Trustees also held the second reading on the policies for student religious liberties governing prayer at school and literacy based promotions requiring all third graders to read at a third grade level before they can be promoted to fourth grade.
• The board was approached by Clayton Everett saying is son was not allowed to march with the band on Friday night but was being forced to practice with the band.
“The band director said it was because he didn’t go to band camp,” said Everett. “I understand four other students didn’t go to band camp but they are being allowed to march.”
School Board President Bart Munlin asked Everett to contact the high school principal and then the superintendent with his concerns.
Everett asked his son not be penalized by not practicing with the band if he couldn’t march on Friday night.