The buses will roll come Bridge Day™.

At a regular meeting Monday at Meadow Bridge High School, the Fayette County Board of Education approved a contract that will allow the Bridge Day™ Commission to use up to 15 Fayette County school buses to transport visitors to the state’s largest one-day festival, set for Oct. 15.

A representative of the Fayette County Bus Drivers Association had appeared at a recent meeting to express concerns with the set-up, which was first utilized in 2004. Monday night, Steve Pilato, board president, said the county got the go-ahead from the state Board of Education to allow the buses to be used to transport other than school children.

“Because we don’t have public transportation available and it is a public safety issue, we can use an emergency clause and (rent the buses out),” Pilato said. He added that the drivers’ salaries — including taxes, worker’s compensation, etc. — will be handled through the school system’s payroll, to then be reimbursed by the BDC.

“We are willing to pay the drivers whatever you deem fair and reasonable, plus fuel, etc.,” said Sharon Cruikshank, BDC chair. “We appreciate the partnership.”

“We appreciate Bridge Day™,” countered Pilato.

In other matters:

The board voted to change the name of the Fayette Plateau Vocational-Technical Center to Fayette Institute of Technology.

In an August letter requesting the change, Principal Barry Crist, Faculty Senate President Cyndi Sundstrom and LSIC Chair Larry Nunnery said the new name would more accurately reflect the mission of the school, which is on the campus of Oak Hill High School but serves most of the county’s high schools. It was a move that had been discussed for about five years by administration, faculty and staff.

“Our previous name insinuated a second-rate secondary school (the Vo-Tech), while intrinsically the new name suggests advanced secondary and post-secondary opportunities (as in MIT and WVUIT),” the letter said. The change will allow the center to stress its focus on technology while updating its image in the process, officials say.

The center, which boasts several strong areas of study for traditional and non-traditional students alike, was named a West Virginia School of Excellence in the 2003-04 school year.

Linda Boley, a Meadow Bridge Elementary School teacher, was honored for being a presenter at the National Reading First Conference.

The board appointed member Carolyn Arritt to co-chair a steering committee which will explore possible reconfiguration of county attendance zones and bus routes. Fellow member Patricia Spangler will also serve. David Seay, the new director of transportation and custodial services, will co-chair the committee. Arritt says it’s necessary to “make some practical changes to existing attendance areas.” She said altering some bus routes could help the school system combat rising prices of fuel and bus replacement parts.

— E-mail: skeenan@fayettetribune.com

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