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By KEVIN KOELLING
CANNELTON – “We’re packed,” Cannelton Schools Superintendent Alva Sibbitt said, launching into discussion about school buses at an Aug. 15 school-board meeting.
“We have 41 (students) on a 48-passenger bus,” he explained. “That’s putting three kids to a seat, and you cannot put three high-school kids in a seat. That’s good news, that we filled that bus up. We started off last year with 20.”
The schools chief announced in April 2012 Cannelton City Schools would begin providing bus transportation from areas outside the corporation boundaries. Tell City and Perry Central buses were making stops to collect students in Cannelton, he explained, after a law requiring inter-district tuition payments was changed.
“So we are getting more kids coming in here,” he continued at the August meeting. “We’re just losing our own … a lot of times they come back. That’s just been my observation. It seems like they’ll move out, and next thing you know, we have them back, so I’m not discouraged yet. And if our funding goes down, I’ve got a plan. I don’t want to talk about it now, but I’ve got a plan.”
He contacted Kerlin Bus Sales and Leasing of Silver Lake about getting a larger bus, Sibbitt said. They had a 2001 66-passenger International with 58,000 miles available for $12,820. The company would accept an $8,324 trade-in allowance for the 48-passenger bus, which is the remaining balance on the vehicle purchased last year.
“We’re currently paying them on a lease-purchase agreement $245 a month,” he said. “If we trade, the new payment will be $290.14 a month.”
The money is paid from the corporation’s referendum fund, he explained, adding it also pays his salary and benefits and those of Academic Dean Dan Freed “and we use some of it for utilities and some of it to make these payments to Kerlin.”
The board authorized the trade-in. In other business, Sibbitt said an instructional assistant the board agreed to employ submitted a letter declining the position due to her husband’s failing health. Principal Roger Fisher recommended Megan Evans after conducting several interviews, Sibbitt said.
“She’s a Cannelton graduate, interviewed quite well and was very enthusiastic regarding the job,” Sibbitt said. The board voted to approve her employment at the high school.
They also voted to hire Kathy VanHoosier to work in the superintendent’s office part time at $10.75 per hour. She would replace a student who had been performing computer and other duties there.
Freed had contacted the director of Ivy Tech about a replacement, Sibbitt said, and “this lady comes highly recommended.”
She’s certified in fundamental payroll and bookkeeping, “so if she works out well, I may come back to you next year and ask you to make her the deputy treasurer.” If the corporation treasurer is out sick for a week, “I can’t do payroll,” Sibbitt said. “I don’t know how to do it. It wouldn’t be any more salary; she’d just be authorized … to go ahead and do payrolls and claims.”