Board of Education hears about supply chain issues, approves bid for new bus wash

Published 4:36 pm Thursday, November 18, 2021

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The supply chain issue affecting the United States is impacting Clark County Public Schools in one of its most important departments, food services.

“The last three weeks have been incredibly intense, and it’s not getting better,” Superintendent Molly McComas said during Monday’s board of education meeting.

Director of Food Services Rebecca Lowry agreed with McComas’ assessment and relayed information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Department of Education about when the issues might abate.

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“They are saying maybe until 2023,” she said.

Food services have had to scramble to procure supplies, and last Friday had 150 ordered items canceled within a 30-minute window.
The result is that food services personnel have had to rearrange breakfast and lunch menus in short order.

“These ladies have worked so hard on a daily basis,” Lowry said about the school cafeteria managers and assistant managers. “What would maybe take them half a day or a day–when the order is complete and done–is taking three days.”

On top of finding food, the cafeteria managers have to communicate the menu changes with principals and school nurses to ensure students with allergies or diabetes are accommodated.

Due to the extra work they have put in during the COVID-19 pandemic, the board will consider a one-time stipend payment for cafeteria managers and assistant managers at a future meeting.

New Bus Wash System

The board voted to approve purchasing a new bus wash system.
The school district received three bids for the project from companies located in Michigan and accepted one from InterClean Equipment that will cost $152,131.

The others were a $146,172 bid from Hyrdo-Chem Systems and another from Ross and White, totaling $167,000.
Donald Stump, the district’s administrative director of operations, said that the current system is over 20 years old, has been out of commission for two years, and cannot be repaired.

The biggest issue is not being able to wash salt off a bus’s undercarriage during winter.

“Our primary concern is salt,” Stump said. “We’ve incurred a great expense on dealing with undercarriage rust on our buses to keep them operational.”

Stump said salt compromises a bus’s flooring and framing when it gets into the undercarriage, thus taking an operational bus and taking it out of the regular rotation.

The project will be paid for using capital outlay funds, money used to improve physical property used by the public.

In other business, the board…
• Accepted a $28,800 bid from Xtreme2Clean to install 3,600 square feet of sidewalks leading to the George Rogers Clark High School football stadium. Funding from the project will come from capital outlay funding.
• Accepted a $57,325 from S&ME to conduct a geological survey of the new Clark County Preschool site at 1750 MLK Jr. Drive. The bid was chosen over one from CSI that would have cost $91,400.
• Approved the initial BG1 application to replace the HVAC system at Shearer Elementary School. The project is currently estimated to cost $2.1 million and is still pending approval from the Kentucky Department of Education. The district plans to pay for the system with a portion of its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds.
• Adopted a resolution to participate in a financing program offered through the Kentucky Interlocal School Transportation Association to purchase three new school buses.