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Recommendation to use private bus service passes

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By Kendall Patterson

In last week’s Chester County Board of Education meeting, Director of Schools Troy Kilzer II and the board of education discussed using a private bus contractor for student transportation to and from school.
Options were Ecco Ride and Durham School Services. Kilzer said Ecco Ride was the selected option of the two because of significant savings choosing Ecco Ride would mean for the school.
There were some concerns about using the service that community members mentioned. Ecco Ride Vice President, Ryan Johnson, was present to answer their concerns.
One of the concerns was what will happen to the current bus drivers.
Johnson said that it was Ecco Ride’s intention and goal to keep the system as close to how it has been in the past and intends to hire the current drivers and maintain their routes.
Another concern was the issue of getting people’s interest in wanting to drive buses and retaining their interest through the Commercial driver’s license bus training.
Johnson explained how Ecco Ride would work with local organizations, use yard signs and to get more bus driver interest. Furthermore, he said that the potential drivers’ CDL training would be paid for and the drivers would be paid as they go through the training as well.
Ecco Ride also said that they will offer many different benefits to its bus drivers which include: paying drivers for referring hires, awards such as gift cards for perfect attendance, a 401K package and more.
At the end of discussion, the recommendation to use Ecco Ride for student transportation passed with a vote of 4-1 with board member Jeff Harris (District 4) absent and board member Mark Griffin (District 1) voting no.
Ecco Ride will be using the school district’s buses.
During spotlights and celebrations, Kilzer and the board had a drawing for the Chester County educators which voluntarily participated in the TN Educator Survey.
Out of 200 names, 20 names were drawn to receive $50 in Chamber Bucks. This survey provides valuable feedback from teachers on topics ranging from instructional materials and planning time to evaluation and standards. The following names are those that were drawn: Stacey Pruett, Marilyn Davis, Valerie Ray, Chris Melton, Amber Murley, Hailey Thomas, Nicole Trask, Rebecca Clayton, Cassie Cupples, Christy Swope, Lisa Scott, Karen Callis, Brooke Welch, Lisa Whaley, Ethan Venable, Jared Humphry, Megan Brasfield, Jill Irwin, Amber Garner and Natalie Cravens.
The recommendation to make revisions to Section 6 to the CCBOE policies regarding electronic devices were also approved.
The policy is now as follows: “Students may possess personal communication devices and personal electronic devices so long as such devices remain silenced. Such devices include, but are not limited to, wearable technology such as eye glasses, rings, or watches that have the capability to record, live stream, or interact with wireless technology; cell phones; laptops; tablets; and mp3 players. Use of personal cellular data network plans is not permitted to be used to access the Internet at any time. Only “CC_Student” or “CC_Guest” wireless should be used to access the Internet during school hours. Students are prohibited from using communication or electronic devices in any manner that interferes with or is disruptive of the education process, which violates the security or integrity of educational material or tests, or which invades the privacy of students, employees, volunteers or visitors. However, a teacher may grant permission for the use of these devices to assist with instruction in his/her classroom, and teachers are encouraged to integrate the devices into their course work. Use of cameras on personal communication devices and headphones (i.e. airpods) are strictly prohibited on school property or at school functions unless authorized by the principal or his/her designee or complete a classroom assignment. Unauthorized use of a device will result in disciplinary action addressed in the current student handbook.”
The board also approved the Chester County Schools out-of-county tuition costs to remain the same with five in favor and none against.
The first draft of the 2022-2023 General Purpose and Federal Programs budget was approved on the first reading with all present in favor.

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