In a meeting held on the eve of the start of the 2018-2019 school year, the Booneville School Board voiced approval of redoing the communication system employed by the school district.
Superintendent Trent Goff said the buses are equipped with cell phones but the system is unreliable.
“We’ve always had cell phones in our buses since I’ve been here,” said Goff. “We’ve had those phones for a while. They’re getting pretty old, some of them are broken, a lot of times they wouldn’t be charged. You don’t have service in Sugar Grove and around (Highway) 217. There’s a lot of areas if we need to get ahold of someone looking for a student we can’t.”
Goff said the plan is to purchase new radios for all route buses and four hand-held devices to go in all the principal’s offices and the bus shop.
‘If we’re looking for a student and can’t find them instead of having to call all the buses, you can make a call and in five seconds everybody hears it,” he said. “We can locate that student in a matter of minutes instead of an hour until they get off the bus. No matter, where ever, we’re always going to have service.”
The cost of the system is about $15,000 Goff said, money for which will be coming from state funding required to be spent for transportation needs.
In other matters Tuesday the board was told the telemedicine services the school will be providing through Arkansas Children’s Hospital should be up and running in early September, and that there has been an issue noted on district boundary lines between Booneville and Greenwood.
“Greenwood and Fort Smith, I guess they had some discrepancy about where their school district lines are, with some millage stuff going on,” said Goff. “When they were doing some research, they found a discrepancy between us and Greenwood.”
The area in question, Goff said, is north of the Booneville City Lake around White Oak Road. The area is in the Booneville School District and the residences in the area have been assessed as such, he said, but any residences in the area have long been considered the Greenwood School District.
Currently, Goff said, there are seven homes in the area in which there are only two students, who have always gone to Greenwood and Goff said the students would be permitted to remain in their school.
Asked by board member Janie Woolley if any future students reside in the area where they would attend, Goff said in Booneville.