School board plans bus purchase

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 3, 2001


RESERVE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Head Start program will be getting new playground equipment and surfacing, a 30-passenger school bus and a concrete parking lot and tricycle trail. At Thursday’s School Board meeting, the board approved a request that money received from a federally-funded grant be used to purchase a playset with slides, crawl tubes and climbers. A swing set and four spring-rides will also be built. The rides will include a Mustang, a Speedy racer, an airplane and a seesaw. Wood chips will also be installed on the playgrounds at both the East Bank and West Bank Head Start Centers. The school board also passed a motion to award Kent Mitchell Bus Sales the bid for the new school bus, which will cost $37,082. That money was also received from a grant awarded to Head Start. Though the motion passed, Board Member Russ Wise proposed a resolution asking that the legislative delegates in the area correct a loophole that did not allow the board to solicit bus bids outside of the state. According to Wise, they are required to reward contracts to the lowest responsible bidder, but are blocked from going outside of the state by the way the law is written. The bids for the 30-passenger bus could not be considered if not from a licensed Louisiana business, which means that the company would be required to have a bus lot or sales office in the state in order for the parish to buy from them. Wise said that they could have saved thousands if other states were not blocked. “If we’re locked into buying from one or two companies, they can charge what they want,” he said. LeBoeuf recommended that the board table the motion until they have had enough time to review all the information. It will be discussed at a later meeting. The board also approved a concrete parking lot and tricycle trail for Head Start, which will be purchased from grant money. According to Josie Clement, director of Head Start, new regulations require concrete lots to help those children with handicaps enter onto the playground with little difficulty. She added that it would also help prevent flooding.