Landfill and Education Committee… Bailer and Summer School discussed during April meeting
BY IVAN SANDERS
The Landfill and Education Committee recently met for their April meeting as a few items were discussed by both committees made up of county commissioners and Mayor Patty Woodby along with Landfill Director Benny Lyons and Carter County Director of Schools Dr. Tracy McAbee.
Landfill Director Lyons updated the committee on the status of the bailer.
According to Lyons they have completed everything needed to be done for the bailer to be installed and are just waiting for the bailer to be delivered which is scheduled for May 31st.
The pit has been dug, concrete poured, and this week electricians put the power disconnect in for the bailer.
“They have done a good job of getting everything ready,” said Landfill Committee Chairman Gary Bailey. “I know they have cardboard running out the door.”
Lyons also said that the building is set to be delivered on May 26th. He also said it would take about eight weeks from the time the contract is signed to get the building installed.
In new business, Bailey said that currently they would be loading the bails with a Bobcat but would like to make a recommendation to purchase a tow motor with a bail clamp.
“It will help greatly when the time comes and we may be able to buy it with Covid money,” Bailey stated.
Lyons added, “Every site that I have visited, they use the bail clamp. The clamp will allow for the bale to be grabbed in the middle of the bail instead of trying to use forks to go under the bale.”
In the Director’s Report, Lyons shared with the committee the problem he has had in getting someone to drive a truck.
“We have had a job application online for four to five weeks for someone to drive a truck,” Lyons explained. “I don’t know if it’s because of what the county is offering or what.
“We work in some of the nastiest, dirtiest conditions you could imagine and I don’t know if they would come and drive for $11 per hour.”
Carter County Director of Schools, Dr. Tracy McAbee, shared a few items with the committee during the meeting including informing the board of several state Skills USA Awards that were presented to students in Carter County during a Zoom awards presentation at Unaka High School on Monday.
Dr. McAbee stated that from all appearances, Carter County students really won a number of top awards in the competition.
He also advised the committee to date that 650 K-8 students have signed up for a month-long summer school that will be comprised of six hours of instruction per day Monday through Thursday and then Friday’s will be used for a field trip day to show the students some of the things they had been studying throughout the week.
Students will be feed lunch and snacks while they are at school according to Dr. McAbee and school buses will be running to pick up students.
Also, Dr. McAbee advised that high school has not been part of the state’s plan for summer school however the county has been working hard to put something together by utilizing ESSER funds.
The class day would be four hours instead of six and students could focus on a primary subject for one week such as Algebra or English to get caught back up.
There was also a bit of good news on the horizon with House Bill 777 which if passed will allow schools to go back to 2019 and give counties the money for BEP for enrollment at that time which would be for one year only.
Dr. McAbee advised that statewide there are 35,000 students who haven’t return to the classroom.
With $14,995,000 of ESSER funds coming to the county, Dr. McAbee said that the school board feels that it is important to have a Centralized CTE site and felt like the Workforce Development Building would be a good centralized location for that.
He also shared that TCAT and Northeast State is very interested.
The committee was also told by Dr. McAbee that Northeast State does a Middle College starting the junior year for students to get on this pathway where the day they graduate they get a high school diploma as well as a two-year degree.
There is a $2000 per semester cost but the student would get $1,000 and Dr. McAbee was suggesting that maybe something could be done to help students with the remaining balance where they wouldn’t have to use a penny of their lottery money and use it to the four-year college they might transfer to.
“Data shows it acclimates the students to college work,” Dr. McAbee shared. “We are just trying to get students employable and making a good wage.”
Dr. McAbee said that it is critical to get students and parents educated to know the possibilities that exist out there and he looks forward to moving this forward at the four county high schools at the 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade levels with career explorations.
Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby shared with the committee that several parents have been very thankful and pleased for the school counselors focusing more on a trade path than pushing a college pathway.