New School Bus Driver approved

By: Pat Hunter

October 19, 2008


Several matters were discussed at the Oct. 16th Loudon County School Board Meeting.  Transportation-assistant school director Gil Luttrell requested School Board approval for a new bus driver, her name is Kelli L. Fields. School Board member (D-2) Larry Proaps asked, does she meet all requirements and background check and Luttrell replied yes, she does. According to public records, Fields met required DOT medical requirements, Department of Safety licensing and the required background investigative requirements.  


Larry Proaps made the motion to accept Fields, which was seconded by School board member (D-3) Lisa Russell. School Board member (D-5) Van Shaver added to the discussion. He said that he had received the communications from School Director Wayne Honeycutt. At some point we need to know the policies and how that’s done and if there are problems or holes when it comes to approving bus drivers. Shaver felt that there may be a hole in school policies that may allow things that are not in the best interest of the children. Shaver alluded to two school bus driver incidences in the last years. (Note: last November there was a school bus driver incidence. The bus driver stopped the bus because several students were purportedly misbehaving. Some of the students got off the bus and walked along a narrow and dangerous road to get home. The bus driver was suspended from her driving duties following the incident with a letter of termination from her bus route.)


Van Shaver requested that School Director Honeycutt and Gil Luttrell look into the school bus driver policy and to be ready to discuss this at the next workshop meeting. Chairman Leroy Tate commented that was one of the reasons that he had formed committees to look into policies such as the school bus driver policy to address these sorts of issues and concerns, which Shaver referenced. That committee would meet with Luttrell to bring back a recommendation. Tate mentioned that he wanted to be proactive rather than reactive on this issue.


School Board member (D-1) Scotty Newman said that he would vote no. It was nothing personal but he felt that the policies needed to be looked and addressed before hiring additional school bus personnel. School Board member (D-7) Craig Simon said that he too wanted to be involved in this issue since he was very familiar with transportation safety requirements. Tate said that all members were open to all board members but that vote would be by that committee. But Tate’s committee’s notion was later shot down by the School Board because he circumvented Board policies and procedures. The Board liked the idea of everyone being privy to all discussions on various subjects rather than having multiple committee meetings and bringing back recommendations for further discussion by the entire School Board.


School Board member (D-5) Gary Ubbens said that there were two unrelated items, one the approval of the new school bus driver and secondly, are our policies adequate and he thought that policies should be reviewed? I see that separate and apart from approval here. There was an awkward moment when the School Board waited for a roll call vote to be taken and School Director Wayne Honeycutt had to ask the new secretary, which he hired, to take roll call.  The vote was approved by the majority with 8 yes and 2 no votes; the two no votes came from Van Shaver and Scotty Newman.


Next BOE Workshop meeting at Tech Center

October 30, Time: ? To be announced later


The next School Board workshop meeting will be held at the Tech Center on Harrison Rd., Lenoir City.  The date of the meeting is scheduled for October 30th (Thursday) but no definite time was set. The School Board received an invitation from several department heads. Maintenance personnel Dave Hemelright commented that Lois Snow and Kathy Proaps were not in attendance to answer questions but he thought that the School Board was asked to attend a little earlier than normal because the Board would be served dinner and a tour of the Tech Center facility and programs. The time of the workshop and dinner would be announced at a later time. Hemelright also announced that at that same day the EPA and TDEC would hold an environmental school workshop at the Tech Center from 8:00 AM to 3:00 P.M. and the School Board received an invitation for that event. The School Board approved the change.