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Fayette school board rejects expensive middle school bids, considers bus driver supplement

Josh James

Fayette County Public School officials are holding out for a better price tag to build a new middle school until student overcrowding forces their hand. The district is also considering a new plan to address its bus driver shortage. Arlo Barnette reports.

With bids to build a middle school more than $23 million over budget due to inflated material costs, the school board voted to reject them at Monday night’s meeting. Superintendent Dr. Demetrus Liggins said they still have time and options for handling the overcrowding problem at this point, but they’ll be ready to commit to new construction when it becomes necessary.

"We will get to a point [at] which we'll say we can't make it work any longer. And that will be well before the need, it won't be 'well we need a school next month.' As we're looking out and we've run out of options, we'll come and say 'this is where the market is . . . we have no more time. We have to go with where the market is at this point.'"

The board will continue discussing its strategic plan for the new school on Thursday.

Another issue addressed Monday was the ongoing bus driver shortage. A proposed $440,000 contract with the National Association of Pupil Transportation Collaborative would pay for 10 vans to transport students. Chief Operating Officer Myron Thompson told board members the move would not affect current bus drivers.

“This is something that expands our toolbox and would give us some flexibility for transporting students, so it’s about efficiency and just trying to look at things differently as we navigate this pandemic."

The school board will vote on the partnership December 13th. If passed, it could be implemented as soon as January.


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