Hicks joins Oneonta board; bus purchase discussed

During the Oneonta Board of Education meeting on Monday evening a new face was welcomed to the board after Robbie McAlpine turned in his letter of resignation.

“Robbie is very busy and will be away the next few weeks,” said superintendent Scott Coefield. “He saw this as an opportunity to bring in our new board member.”

Coefield thanked McAlpine for his service and help before opening the floor for nominations on a replacement. With a short discussion from the board, Ricky Hicks accepted the vacant spot.

“I’m excited to serve on the board,” Hicks said. “I’m currently in the learning process, but I want to be available to help the teachers and students in any way I can.”

With a $95,000 bond expiring in January, the board went on to discuss using that money to buy new buses. Oneonta has 10 buses ranging from a 2002 model to a 2009 model. Coefield said considering the oldest bus is in good condition and doesn’t have a significant amount of mileage, they should keep all the buses they have and use the bond money to buy a new handicap-equipped bus and possibly a new smaller bus.

“With the population of handicap children in our area there is a growing concern we won’t have adequate transportation in the next year or two,” Coefield said.

The handicap-equipped bus will cost approximately $100,000, according to Coefield. With the current money the school has saved for buses, this would possibly leave enough money to buy a smaller bus with a 24-student capacity for traveling to extra-curricular activities.

The board will decide on the purchase in an upcoming meeting.

In other business, with insistence from board member Geoff Smith, the board debated on asking Birmingham Coca-Cola if they could supply the school with fountain drinks rather than the bottle option. The board also wished to ask the company if they could provide drinks during band competitions. With time running out on the current contract, the board deleted that item from the agenda and will revisit it at another time.

The board approved the hiring of Vanna Killough as a 3rd grade teacher, Julie Talton as the central office coordinator, Michelle Patrick as a science teacher, and Kendra Jennings as an aide in special education. The board also approved contracts with Rachel Jimerson and Donya Hawks, part-time lunchroom workers; Glenda Vinson, part-time technology coordinator; Debra Hicks and Janie Smith, psychometrists; Pediatric Therapy Inc. for physical therapy; Kristal Moman, occupational therapist; Angie Cole, occupational therapy assistant; Linda Tidwell, homebound instructor, and Susie Thomas, mobility/Braille instruction services.

Present at the July 30 meeting were Coefield and board members Smith, McAlpine, Hicks, Don Maples, Kitty Cheak, and Winston Scott.