School system, Sheriff’s Dept. work together to save money for county
Published 9:21 am Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Cooperation is a concept often talked about in government, but two county departments recently showed that working together can help everyone.
On Friday, the Carter County school system donated a used 1994 model Class A mini bus to the Carter County Sheriff’s Department to be used for their inmate work programs, some of which have benefited the school system in recent years.
“They have saved us several thousands of dollars in one project alone when they helped us refinish our gym floors,” Carter County Director of Schools Kevin Ward said, adding the last time the school system had the floors redone it came with a price tag of “upwards of $20,000.”
The inmate work crews from the Carter County Detention Center also help out in a number of other ways, Ward said, such as painting, maintenance, grounds keeping and helping to move items within a school or between schools. Recently, a work crew helped to unload the school system’s textbooks for the school year, separate them and distribute them to the different schools, Ward said.
So, when Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford approached the school system about the possibility of buying an old school bus, the Carter County Board of Education decided the best thing to do was to help him out.
“The Board looked at it and said ‘Hey, look at all they do for us,’” Ward said, adding the Board unanimously voted to give the used bus to the Sheriff’s Department. “Our Board understands what a cost savings this creates for us.
“It was a nice gesture on the part of the Board and a good idea from our Transportation Manager Wayne Sams,” Ward added.
The donated bus was one that had been pulled out of service for transporting students due to the age and mileage on the bus under state safety standards.
“We’ve used this bus for the last few years over at Lift for the lunch program,” Sams said. “It’s been out of state service since 2006, but we used it to haul meals from Hunter Elementary to the Lift Academy.”
A similar bus was removed from student transportation this past year and it is now in use as the meal transport vehicle for the Lift Academy. That would have sent the bus donated on Friday to the auction block, where Sams estimated it could have been sold for as much as $1,500.
Instead, the bus avoided the auction and found a new home at the Sheriff’s Department. Without the donation, Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said his department would have had to purchase a vehicle to transport inmate work crews. The donation by the school system will allow the Sheriff’s Department to avoid that expenditure and save money, Lunceford said.
“It’s going to be assigned to a litter crew or one of the work crews,” Lunceford said. “We’ll have several uses for it, it won’t be just one use.
“We’ve got several crews,” Lunceford added. “This will give us the ability to put another crew out doing projects for the citizens of Carter County.”