Macon County Schools Face Bus Driver Shortage

photo by Vickie Carpenter

Contributing Writer – Diane Peltz

With the start of the new school year, Macon County Schools is finding themselves to be three bus drivers short.  During the regular August School Board Meeting, Todd Gibbs, director of Career and Technical Education, said that at this time they have no prospects for any new bus drivers. 

“Once we hire a driver it takes three days of classroom training, 14 days of wait time for background checks, and three days of on-the-road training,  pushing the starting date for any new drivers into September or October,” he explained.

Right now Gibbs is trying to get substitutes to fill in the three routes that are not being covered.
Tommy Cabe, School Board vice chairman, spoke about his  eight week trip throughout the United States this past summer.

“Every school I visited had the same problem with a shortage of bus drivers,” he said.  
By the first day of school Gibbs had secured enough temporary drivers to fill the gaps. He took one vacated route and added it to routes that drivers already had. Offers came from retired bus drivers and a few who only wanted to substitute on busses, stepped up to say they would drive a full route.

“We are still working through these scenarios, and hopefully we will have permanent drivers on these routes soon,” said Gibbs.  

MMS Seeking Architects

County commissioners are seeking a Request for Qualifications for Architectural Design Services, for Macon Middle School repairs (MMS) for a complete overhaul of the middle school building. The county  will be receiving responses until Sept. 23, 2019 at 4 p.m. The total square footage of MMS is 100,477.  The project includes parking lot paving, guard rails and drop-off canopies, roof assembly work, building safety repairs, interior finishes, kitchen equipment repairs, HVAC replacement and controls, plumbing, electrical power distribution, electrical lighting systems and fire alarm, telecommunications and intercom repairs. Previous repairs that the board was hoping to complete this summer were not able to be made due to the roof repairs being a priority. A small section (about 10’x20’) of roof was repaired or replaced.  

“County commissioners are quick to make roof repairs in order to keep water outside of the building,” said Gibbs. He went on to explain that the commissioners have also given the okay to repair a section of roof over the cafeteria at the high school.

“The county commissioners have been proactive in getting these repairs done,” he said.

Summer Reading Camp Results

Carol Arnold, Title I Consultant for Macon County Schools, spoke about the success of the Summer Reading Program. The program was held at Cartoogechaye  Elementary School June 10 – 28. Breakfast, lunch and transportation were provided to students who attended. A total of 379 children attended the Reading Camp.

“Out of the 27 students who attended in grade one, 81% demonstrated growth in one or more areas. In grade two, of the 27 who attended, 91% demonstrated growth in one or more areas. Out of the 325 third graders in Macon county, 41 were required to attend and  85% demonstrated growth in RTA and 54% passed Read to Achieve requirements.”

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