The Rush City School Board voted 4-2 against approval for contracted transportation services for the school district, which was presented by Rush City Schools Superintendent William Campbell during the board meeting Aug. 15.
Voting “yes” on the contracted busing were board members Scott Tyron and Becky LaMont. Voting “no” on the motion were members Stefanie Folkema, Teri Umbreit, Matt Meissner and Jennifer Widell.
“A little over a year ago our transportation department found themselves in a transitional condition,” Campbell said before the vote. “Natural circumstances occurred over the last 14 to 16 months. We had a maintenance employee who took care of our fleet and he made the decision to retire. The administration made a decision to bridge that loss through our main driver coordinators position. We started using local shops to maintain our fleet for this school year.”
Since becoming the superintendent for Rush City Schools, Campbell said he has admired the work of the Rush City transportation department.
“I see some of them here tonight and I commend them for their camaraderie, their friendship and the care they demonstrate for others,” Campbell said. “It is undeniable.”
In his statement, Campbell expressed concerns about the maintenance of the fleet, shortage of substitute drivers and bus purchasing.
“I quickly learned that we rely on our drivers to be able to identify mechanical issues on the bus when they notice them, and I became concerned about the current training, certification and needs of our drivers and staff,” Campbell said. “I also became concerned about the lack of sub drivers in our district and the toll it takes on the few who take extra trips.”
Campbell stated he has talked to staff, other school districts, businesses and companies and has done research on options to maintain and sustain the Rush City bus fleet for the Rush City School District for the students and the community.
Even though there were employees from the transportation department at the meeting, no one made any comments or had any questions. The board did not discuss the issue and went right to a vote on the motion.
The next Rush City School Board meeting is scheduled on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 5:30 p.m. at the Rush City High School Media Center.