What's next for Rome City Schools' buses

Rome City Schools students board buses after a field trip to the Rome City Auditorium on Broad Street.

Rome City Schools met at 11:30 a.m. for a called board meeting Monday where they discussed personnel and potential real estate acquisitions during a closed session which lasted around 45 minutes.

The board had no announcement regarding real estate when it broke from closed session however they did approve six new hires for various system positions.

Superintendent Lou Byars gave the board an update on buses and transportation during the regular session of the meeting. The Georgia Department of Education granted the system funds to help offset the cost of a school bus, Byars said. The state uses a formula to award transportation dollars and the city school system was awarded $77,000 to put towards a bus.

Byars also brought the board up to speed on the cost of additional transportation personnel, which includes 32 bus drivers along with a planning position and a director of transportation. The system is trying to budget $1.5 million for the drivers and two administrative positions, Byars said, which is around the amount the school system paid the City of Rome for the use of the city buses.

The system has already spent $3.2 million for the 35 new school buses — $77,000 of which will be reimbursed by the state — with the money coming from their general fund. The system still needs to find a storage location for the buses once they arrive in November, whether rented or constructed.

Byars said the system still needs 20 bus drivers and is willing to pay a $1,000 bonus for drivers who come on for a year. The system offers good benefits, competitive pay and a retirement bonus for those who work with the system for more than 10-years. Drivers will also be trained and certified through the system.