School district to purchase three new buses; hire more instructional assistants

The Russell County Board of Education voted to approve the purchase of three new school buses at Monday night’s board meeting.

Two of the buses are 72-passenger buses and one holds 52 passengers.

All three buses are air-conditioned and outfitted with surveillance systems, an addition that Ford said comes highly recommended by the district’s bus drivers.

The cost of the buses comes in at around $334,000. Ford said the district had remaining funds in the capital outlay budget to purchase the new buses, which should be added to the district’s current fleet soon.

The board also approved the hiring of 10 instructional assistants for primary grades throughout the district. These hires are planned to be for the 2021-2022 school year as a means to help students those ages with learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district is utilizing ESSER funds, or funds that were provided from the federal government in recent stimulus packages, to hire the new assistants. Ford said the government heavily regulates what those funds can be used for, but this falls into the category of acceptable expenses.

Four will be hired at Russell Springs Elementary and three each at Salem Elementary and Jamestown Elementary. The decision to hire 10 comes from the number of first-grade classrooms at each school, per the recommendation of the district’s principals.

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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for LakerCountry.com and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.