Company owner questions contract termination

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — A question related to the bus maintenance contract for Sidney City Schools was raised Monday night during the public participation portion of the board meeting.

Irvin Bowman, of Covington, told the board the company he owns, Wayne Truck & Trailer, 2151 S. Vandmark Road, has been providing maintenance on the district’s buses for the past seven years.

“We have made substantial investments on behalf of the (school district’s) business manager,” said Bowman. “We want to be transparent on the vehicles we work on.”

Bowman said the company provides preventative maintenance to ensure the vehicles are “reliable and available when needed.”

“We’ve received some push back from the school personnel we deal with at the school,” said Bowman.

The district’s bus fleet, said Bowman, is aging. In 2011, when Wayne Truck & Trailer began maintenance, 10 of the 21 buses had more than 100,000 miles on them. Five of the buses had 145,000 miles and five of the buses were 10 years or older. Six of the buses had under 65,000 miles on them.

Now, he said 13 of the buses are 10 years old, while seven of them are 14 years old. Fifteen of the 21 buses have more than 100,000 miles, while only two have less than 65,000 miles.

“Year to year, we’ve gotten the fleet up the where it’s safe and reliable,” said Bowman.

Bowman said the company received a notice from the district that they were terminating the contract.

“We had a contract through November 2019 on the lot and September 2020 on the maintenance.

“I’m asking you to honor the contracts or provide compensation for the costs to do the work on the lot,” said Bowman.

Board President Bob Smith said Treasurer Mike Watkins and Superintendent Bob Humble will look at the status of the contracts.

Bowman had letters from Watkins and former Superintendent John Scheu terminating the contract.

During the June 25 meeting, the board awarded a two-year bus maintenance contract to Kirk NationaLease.

When contacted Tuesday morning, Watkins provided a copy of the agreement between the district and Wayne Truck & Trailer. Included in the agreement was a “30-day written notice prior to any units being terminated.”

The contract was signed in July 2017 by Jerry Harmon, who was the business manager for the school district at the time, and Bowman.

In his email, Watkins said, “in actuality the agreement will still be in place, we are just not going to have any units (buses) placed with him for maintenance.”

Watkins further stated, “I spoke with the business manager and transportation coordinator and we were unhappy with some of the services, we had some differences of opinion and ultimately the decision was made to make a change because of the increasing cost of the maintenance program.”

Mike Shonk, maintenance supervisor, reported on the demand response performance audit performed by DP&L. The audit, said Shonk, was to see how much electricity the district could free up during an emergency.

“We had 193 kilowatts freed up,” said Shonk. He told the board that the previous amount of electricity freed up was 35 kilowatts.

“We should be getting a $1,100 check for the audit,” said Shonk. “We can expect increases next year though the program.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved the transfer of $65,000 from the general fund to the capital projects fund for turf ($40,000) and track ($25,000) replacement.

• Approved the license renewal with WORKS International Inc. for Public School Works, effective July 2018 to July 2019at a cost of $16,320. The district uses the licenses for training of employees, discipline in buildings and work orders for maintenance.

• Approved a service agreement with the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center to provide sign language interpreter services at a cost of up to $48,968.10. The district has a hearing-impaired student who was attending school at Jackson Center. The student is going to Upper Valley Career Center this year and the district has to provide a sign language interpreter for the entire year.

• Accepted the resignations of Kelsey Calderone, Sidney High School science teacher; Tove Russell, Emerson School cook; Terry Ward, Sidney Alternative school aide; Jeff Fannon, Sidney Middle School cross country coach; and Nathaniel Wright, substitute teacher.

• Employed Steve Corbin as high school science teacher on a one-year contract at $42,177.

• Employed Mark Cathcart, custodian, $16.05 plus $ 50 cents per hour night bonus; Tim Martin, aide, $12.97 per hour plus $2 per hour low incident premium; and Sarah Steenrod, aide, $15.31 per hour plus $2 an hour low incident premium.

• Employed Sarah Andreas, Ruth Baker and Devon Huffman as substitute teachers at $90 per day.

• Employed Mark Cathcart, Chris Moore, Kenneth Lee and Jon Rickey, substitute custodians, $14 per hour; and Josh Billing and Jessica Brunswick, substitute bus drivers, $16.08 per hour.

• Employed Jon Dunham as middle school cross country coach at $1,064.

• Approved the change of assignment for Diane Thobe from custodian to 215-day secretary at Emerson elementary School. She will be paid $18.79 per hour.

• Employed Annette Johnson, Marissa Thompson, Jane Hixon and Beth Abbot as home instructor tutors at $26.89 per hour.

• Employed Bria Foy, Patti Deel, Joan Holliday, Shapnem Chapman, Danielle Landrum, Marisa Strunk, Alisha Holtzapple, Hilary McKenzie, Paige Wiktorowski and Miaya Foy as Latchkey aides at $11 per hour.

• Approved the bus stops for the 2018-19 school year.

• Appointed Jayne Evans, Anthony Moeder, Melissa Welch and Ashley Wiley as district representatives for ETR/IEP meeting.

The board’s next meeting will be Monday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.