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Wheeler BOE Applies for Funding for Bus; Coach Thomas Smith Returning to WCHS

The Wheeler County Board of Education has applied for a $50,000 state grant to be augmented with $55,000 in local funds to buy a small bus for transport students to CTAE events. “Because the grant funding will be split between state and local sources, CTAE events would have first priority, but the bus would be available for other purposes,” said Schools Superintendent Suzanne Couey.

Couey said during the Board’s December 11 regular session that the bus driver would not be required to have a CDL license to operate the bus but would be required to participate in all other bus driver training. “Your approval is needed to utilize additional funds if we receive the grant,” Couey told the Board.

The superintendent will notify the Board if the grant is received so it can formally approve the purchase of the bus.

In other business during the meeting, Couey announced that the Alamo City Council accepted the Board’s offer of $53,555 in exchange for “permanent encroachment upon the right-of-way of Wheeler Street for the retaining wall, fence, and curbing that currently encroach upon such right-of-way and the City of Alamo agrees to upgrade the sewer lift station that currently serves the new school.” Wheeler Street borders the rear section of the school. Couey noted that the City Council also approved work to be done by the Board on the east side of Wheeler Street to repair deep ditches left by the contractors, “We hope to begin work as soon as the contractor is available,” Couey said.

Because it has received no offers from the general public to purchase the former Wheeler County Elementary School in downtown Alamo, the Board is considering demolishing the structure. Couey said she contacted four companies about demolishing the school in exchange for materials, but had no response. She said she re-contacted the companies regarding their fees for demolition and had one response. She planned to meet with this company and would furnish the Board with more information at its January session. During its meeting, the Board approved the rehiring of Coach Thomas Smith, who came to Wheeler County in 2020 and left the school system last year to pursue another opportunity in Dodge County. He was replaced by Britt Ingle who resigned for personal reasons last month.

Also hired were the following: Amber Wommack as full-time bus driver beginning in January; Carlton Jones as substitute driver pending a background check and physical examination; and Jesse Boyd as a substitute custodian pending a background check.

The Board accepted resignations from Kelli Rice, elementary counselor; and Tim Horton, who had been teaching driver’s education on a 49% basis and will be fully retiring.

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