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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Board rejects another place for bus garage

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dan Schroeder
Once again, the Clay Community School Board of Trustees has failed to reach a consensus on the future location of the Transportation Department.

In a 4-2-1 vote, Thursday the school board rejected a motion by Brian Atkinson to enter into a three-year lease agreement on the Williams' property for the location of the new bus garage. Atkinson and Tina Heffner voted for the motion, while President Ted Jackson, Terry Barr, Jennifer Kaelber and Forrest Buell were against. Board member Dottie King abstained from the vote.

When INSafe, a division of the Indiana Department of Labor, visited the Quonset hut Feb. 15, they found 21 standards were not being met.

"We have since rectified all but five, and four are big ticket items," Clay Community School Corporation Supt. Dan Schroeder said. "We have estimates that the cost would be about $67,000-$70,000. They gave us until the end of April to address these issues or ask for an extension."

Tina Heffner
The board members discussed how the options presented for future locations would benefit both the short and long term problems.

"In my opinion, the options as presented reflect the long-term plan fixing the short term when you look at the long-term arrangements," Heffner said. "Why waste $70,000 when you can put that for a long-term plan for 20-30 years."

CCSC Building and Grounds Director Tom Reberger told The Brazil Times the four costly violations at the Quonset hut include rewiring the entire building, providing fire-rated enclosure for welding equipment, providing fire-rated enclosure for flammable liquids and railing with an approved stairway leading to the storage areas. Reberger was asked by the board to look into the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) codes to see if the building could be used for storage and the cost to remove the building.

Tom Reberger
"I have a price estimate to tear down the steel building, haul away all debris, dig out and haul away all concrete, remove approximately 12 inches of dirt, haul and cap off existing water and sewer. The projected cost is $10,000," Reberger said at the meeting.

Though Atkinson and Heffner liked the idea of leasing the property with the intention to buy and making improvements, Reberger and other board members were concerned with the capital improvements made to the property staying with the property, which could result in an inevitable waste of money.

"It does concern me," King said. "If we make those capital improvements, we are at the mercy of the selling price at the end of three years or five years, and we are at the mercy of the what's going to happen with real estate prices."

King went to explain how she can see Reberger's view that buying a property outright would allow the corporation to know exactly what it has to work with, and there would be no potential for forfeiting any of the improvements made.

Though Buell asked for an extension on the agenda item until the new board members are present at the July meeting, the board had to clarify that INSafe would not allow them to wait that long without an extension.

Terry Barr
"I am going to vote against this, not because there is anything wrong with the property, but because there is a rule we follow. We get two appraisals and we pay that price," Barr said. "I feel like leasing it for a few years and then paying that same price later, we just did a creative way to pay more for it than we are allowed."

After the vote, board members were asked by the administration what steps should be taken next.

"We need to act on something," Schroeder said. "We are at the point now where we can't wait anymore. The administration has to do something because the time clock is running on this April date, unless if we are lucky enough to get an extension."

The board agreed to not do anything to the Quonset hut that requires a big cost, ask for an extension and pay the fine. The board agreed to have a special session at a later date to discuss the situation.

It was during future agenda items where Atkinson brought more ideas to the table with a discussion concerning the contracting out the maintenance on the buses, and what should be done with the million dollars in the rainy day fund for a bus garage.

"Clearly, we are not going to agree on what we need to do," he said. "So we need to look at all the alternatives, every one of them."

As the meeting closed, it was the words said by Atkinson at the beginning of the discussion, which were on the minds of those in attendance.

"Here is the problem as I see it," Atkinson said. "There is no one perfect property. At some point, we have to do something."

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On the removal of the Quonset hut estimate, I do not see anything on the removal of the leaking underground fuel tank and the contaminated earth surrounding it to meet EPA specifications.

On leasing a property, why not write a clause into the lease agreement concerning required capitol improvements?

This is pure manipulation of the Board by members of the administration to get what they want instead of just what they need.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sat, Apr 10, 2010, at 12:05 AM

The two underground diesel fuel and gasoline tanks at the current bus garage site are inspected and certified on a regular basis as required by law. They have operational leak monitoring equipment as required by law. There has never been any report or indication of a leak in either of these two tanks.

-- Posted by Thomas on Sat, Apr 10, 2010, at 12:01 PM

Really, that's funny because the transportation director stated that water is getting into them and fuel is getting out at a school board meeting.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sat, Apr 10, 2010, at 4:41 PM

Don't argue with Leo L. Southworth. He is an expert in everything, just ask him. I'm just curious why fuel is getting out at school board meetings. Well Leo L Southworth?

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Sat, Apr 10, 2010, at 5:26 PM

Mr. Thall. Thank you, sincerely for the snide remark.

However, in my humble opinion, I'm not an expert in any field. I'm impressed that you think that I am. One can only be an expert in another person's opinion and the self-proclaimed expert is, in actuality, a fool, period.

I'll re-phrase my comment so that you may more easily understand it."At a school board meeting, the transportation director stated that water is getting into them and fuel is getting out."

While these may well be certified, inspected, and such, it does not change the fact that water is getting into them or that water is heaver than either liquid stored in them, therefore, should enough water have ever entered to make them overflow the ground is contaminated. That water is entering them has been known for at least the past two years as it was mentioned in a conversation between myself and two school corporation officials in 2008.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, Apr 11, 2010, at 1:44 AM

Is there a possible solution to the problem of the Bus Garage? Leo, what do you think the Board should do, since you seem to be in the know of these things? Something has to give so we can move on to something of greater importance, say, the education of our children. Shouldn't we also look at the Fieldhouse for Northview again? This will be interesting to get responses going?

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Sun, Apr 11, 2010, at 9:38 PM

Electriceye -- There are many possible options that will solve the Bus Garage issue. A few of them have been looked at, specifically replacing what we have or renovating it. Doing something different has not been looked at by the board as, apparently, it has been rejected by the administration and never brought to the table. We could lease the routes or hire transportation as do some other corporations.

The administration has brought forward their objections on every property looked at to date. Whatever option is chosen is going to spend some tax dollars. The problem is to find a solution that expends the least both in the initial outlay and in recurring annual costs. Some of the costs are ones that the general public does not think of, such as every mile a bus or employee travels to this facility costs us money which adds up.

Another item that has not been presented to the board is just what maintenance functions are performed within the Transportation Department and with what frequency. I know that a lot of minor maintenance is done, fixing inoperative doors, replacing lights, oil and lube jobs, replacing wiper blades, etc. I'm also aware that we have a bus replacement fund and a plan in force by which these buses are replaced in a cyclic manner. They come in with a warranty and they are replaced a short while after they lose that coverage. It is questionable as to how the transportation shop should be equipped and staffed as there has been no report to the board of what is actually being done within it. If we do not rebuild engines, we have no need for the capability or staff to do so. If we only replace one or two engines a year, it would be less expensive not to have the staff or equipment on hand to do that task if we can outsource it. These things should have been presented in a report by the administration before any recommendation to accept or reject any solution to a problem that actually may not be as big of a problem as it has been made out to be. The board has been placed in the position of being asked for a decision without all of the facts and, at this stage of the game and without the information forthcoming, might as well flip a coin if pressed for a decision. A Business Administration professor of mine mad the statement that, in business, "If you are faced with a decision where all of the factors look equal or you have little information on which to base it you do not really need a brain to decide. Flipping a coin gives you a fifty-fifty chance of success. Of course, if you wish to improve your chance of success you can always do more research."

My thought is that the bus garage and facilities maintenance shop should be located within the same building, separate wings with a common area containing equipment that both need but that is not used by either the majority of the time. Along with that building, a Central Office should be located on that site to eliminate much of the travel time of facilities maintenance personnel to maintain that structure, The current Central Office is in need of replacement so we have the opportunity to resolve this coming issue before the building is declared unusable. The Transportation Facility is the main refueling point for the northern bus routes, so it should be located as near as possible to the place that most of those buses must go to on a daily basis. That would be the Northview -- North Clay -- Cumberland Academy campus.

The option of using existing corporation property at that location has been rejected. However, there are cornfields south and west of that campus but there has been no mention of approaching the owners to determine if they can be purchased.

Meanwhile, properties are being looked at to solve the problem short-term until a long-term solution can be found so that the buses can be maintained with the maintenance employees as safe as possible.

Actually, everything is connected right into the education of the students. If we can save money in the General Fund, then that money can go into the classrooms instead of into support activities.

Why would Northview have need of a Fieldhouse? Are we operating a sporting venue or a school? Is the focus extra-curricular athletics or academic achievement? How many of our students that cannot read at grade level does a fieldhouse, swimming pool, or auxiliary gymnasium help to reach a higher level of academic achievement than will investing the money that these items would cost to operate, maintain, and construct in the building of more classrooms and hiring more teachers to lower the student to teacher ratio so that there is more time to teach?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Apr 12, 2010, at 10:55 PM

That's our Leo, overkill a point!!! I knew I could get you on the Fieldhouse. I don't know, the fact that it could also be built with more classrooms to allow smaller class sizes. What are the statistics for everything that you seem to know about? Once again, I M Lee Thall proves correct.

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Tue, Apr 13, 2010, at 1:35 AM

Leo once again you have made an assumption without further investigation. If you have any questions then why not come to the source? The doors to the bus garage are open to anybody that has any questions about what goes on from day to day. Here at the garage we do services and preventive maint. on buses but we also do more than just that. We have 6 mowers, 3 tractors, multiple weedeaters, multiple chain saws, 75 buses, aswell as many other small engine pieces of equiptment. Everyone in the county is under the assumption that all we do is oil changes, and that is incorrect we do overhauls, replacements and anything needed to be done to the equiptment. Buses are not kept a short time after warranty runs out as leo states, we are mandated by law to keep our buses 12 years by the state. The warranty on a bus is 1 year on the body and wiring, 5 years on the motor, and 3 years on the transmission. Anything beyond that point we repair in the bus garage. If anyone has any questions feel free to contact me or stop by the bus garage and I personally will go through everything we do in here from day to day. You can email me at mcvaych@clay.k12.in.us or call me at 812-442-7121 ext 3. Chris McVay Garage Supervisor.

-- Posted by McVaych on Tue, Apr 13, 2010, at 12:38 PM

Thank you McVaych for a direct and detailed answer.

-- Posted by BackHomeAgain on Tue, Apr 13, 2010, at 3:55 PM

I also forgot to put in there we have 10 service vehicles that we work on aswell. Out of those 10 service vehicles they range from a 1992 to a 2009. Out of 10 vehicles 1 of them is under warranty still, and that is only for the next year. There is no replacement plan for service vehicles with the corporation, so we have to repair anything that happens with these vehicles.

-- Posted by McVaych on Tue, Apr 13, 2010, at 9:09 PM


You do not have to justify what you do to Leo. I am pretty confident that when the bus inspections are done in the summer, Clay Community passes without question. How often do you hear about the buses breaking down, with kids in them? NEVER! Mr. Misner and his entire staff are the reason that the kids get to school everyday, safely and without delay. How about continuing to provide a great service to this county? Chris and the other mechanics probably deserve raises for the outstanding service that they do on the buses. Of course, Dr. Southworth doesn't see that, he only sees what he wants to see. Open your "eye" to the right way to do things. Open your "eye" to how things are taken care of. Finally, you need to open your "eye" Leo and stop acting like ol' Doc Buell.

-- Posted by Ron Archer on Tue, Apr 13, 2010, at 10:12 PM

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