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Merritt is a blessed man

Jeff Davis Schools Transportation Director Alvin Merritt was a picture of a blessed man at Monday’s Board of Education meeting as he gave an update to the board on the transportation department.
Merritt felt particularly blessed that eight new buses will be delivered to the school system in April, 2023, bringing the department to the point that all the buses in the system except one will be air conditioned. He expressed his appreciation for the support of the board in meeting the transportation department’s need.
Merritt said all the buses in the system have been equipped with up-to-date technology with state-of-the-art camera systems.
He also thanked the board for seeing to it that the bus shop service area was air conditioned and the board had agreed to purchase a new gas dispenser system that greatly improved gas delivery to the buses.
Merritt added that the state bus inspection this year was “one of the best we’ve had” with no major write-ups. He said one inspector told him the Jeff Davis County inspection was one of the cleanest he’s had.
Bus driver recruitment, a major issue with school systems across the country, is being addressed by Merritt’s department as he has a team of drivers reaching out to the community in an effort to recruit new drivers. Merritt said he has a meeting set up with Effingham County Schools Transportation officials, describing that county as “one of the top systems in the state in driver recruitment and retention.”
While the department is now five drivers short, Merritt said he felt blessed that he has never had to double-route drivers nor suspend routes until he could get someone to run it.
“Hallelujah,” Merritt said to the fact that the eight new buses will arrive in April.
In other action at Monday’s meeting, the board ….
…. heard Primary School Principal Dr. Shelly McBride recognize students for outstanding accomplishments. Recognized were Lucero Delgado Rivera, Cal Harrison, Alexander Rios Hernandez and Keelee Toler for the highest math assessment scores, and Maylee Worth, Zoey Ellis, Marco Vargas and Zachary Jarrell for the highest reading assessment scores.
…. accepted copies of the new Jeff Davis High annual from members of Kay Stafford’s high school journalism class. They also presented the family of the late board member Randy Smith’s with an annual which contained a memorial to him.
…. heard School Superintendent Dr. Chris Roppe discuss required procedures based on Senate Bill 588 where each school district has an established “Rules of Conduct for Public Participation and Input.”
…. approved a policy on unstructured break time.
…. agreed to purchase a used telehandler forklift for the maintenance department.
…. heard financial updates from Finance Director Betty Corbitt.
…. accepted the resignations of custodian Timothy McKever and School Nutrition Program (SNP) assistant Loretta King.
…. approved recommendations to hire Caitline S. Kline as an SNP Assistant, Robyn Crumpler as a high school teacher, Forrest Aldridge as a custodian and Carlton Jones as a bus driver/monitor.
…. approved board members training plan for FY 2023.

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