On Tuesday, Aug. 26, the Morehouse Parish School Board held three committee meetings to hear reports and discuss matters of import prior to the full board meeting on September 2. The primary portion of the evening's discussions occurred during the Building, Properties and Transportation Committee meeting and revolved around busing issues.
Committee Chairperson Tamika Farrell requested to receive an informational report on bus routes at the meeting as well as an update on the purchase of new buses by the school system. Each report was presented by Dr. George Noflin, superintendent, and Debbie Buckley, transportation manager.
At the beginning of the discussion, Dr. Noflin brought to the board's attention multiple incidents that occurred last week where children opted to take a different bus to travel home with a friend or stayed after school without informing their parents and missed their designated bus.
According to Farrell, she initially requested a report on bus routes in July in order to try to help the school system avoid problems and encourage communication.
Over the past several days, parents have taken to Facebook and made phone calls to complain about busing issues, the queuing of children at schools for bus changes, transit times and the times children arrive at home.
At the committee meeting, no formal action was taken, but several possibilities were discussed, including staggering school times better or potential relief that would be afforded by new buses.
However, when the purchase of five new buses was discussed later in the meeting, it was revealed that the new buses, which bids have already been collected on, would largely replace buses that must be retired or need to be retired from operation.
Another item of discussion that has appeared on Facebook and the television news during the past week was also addressed — the cooling situation at Bastrop High School and Delta Magnet. At the meeting, a report was made that said Delta Magnet was cool and that Bastrop High is making strides to keep students comfortable until a new compressor can be ordered to allow one of the two chillers at Bastrop High to run at higher power. A chiller has already been ordered to replace a second chiller unit at the school.