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Bad bridges may force bus route changes

A few county school bus routes could change soon after analarming report from the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors aboutarea bridges.

The supervisors, along with Michael Lang, the assistant countyengineer, met with the Lincoln County School board Monday night todiscuss the potentially dangerous bridges.

“We’ve got some bridges out there that have some deficiencies,”said Doug Moak, president of the board of supervisors.

School board members were given a list of bridges that did notmeet the weight limit to handle school buses, following a recentreview of bridges in the county.

“Anything below 13,000 lbs. can be dangerous for the buses,”said Lang.

The list contained 10 bridges that rate in the 6,000 and 8,000pound weight limit category. Those bridges are safe for passengervehicles, but the wooden pilings cannot handle the weight of the60-passenger diesel school buses, according to supervisors.

On average, school buses weigh between 25,500 and 27,500 poundswhen they are empty, but they can safely cross bridges that have a13,000 pound or more weight limit, said Lang.

“Most of the time you only have one set of wheels on a bridge ata time,” he explained.

Supervisors and school board members want to avoid the risk of acatastrophe with school buses and bridges, so transportationdirector Donald Case will instruct bus drivers not to cross bridgesthat have weight limits under 13,000 lbs.

Supervisors hope to upgrade the bridges over the next severalyears when funds are available.

In other matters of discussion last night, students in theschool district will no longer participate in the 4 x 4 blockschedule, which was similar to that of colleges. Instead, studentswill switch back to the seven-period day at the beginning of thenext school year.

“All the principals say this will be the best thing to do, andall the teachers I’ve talked with agree with it,” saidSuperintendent Perry Miller.

Miller pointed out that a number of other school districts inthe state also experimented with the block schedule for a fewyears, but are opting to go back to the seven-period day because itis more ideal.

The main problem teachers, students, parents and administratorsreported about the block schedule was that it was difficult to holdthe attention span of high school students for 120 minutescontinuously.

Miller also mentioned how tough it was for students and teachersto cover a vast amount of material in one semester rather than twosemesters.

“I think sometimes we were overloading those kids,” he said.

Another topic of discussion during the meeting was the need forconstruction and renovation of buildings at all four of the countyschools.

School board members agreed that the district should apply forMississippi Public Schools building funds.

If the district is awarded the funds, construction could beginon a new library at West Lincoln Attendance Center. The greenbuilding at West Lincoln could also receive a new roof, and the oldbuilding at Bogue Chitto Attendance Center could be torn down. Twoother possible projects were work on a sewage plant at Loyd StarAttendance Center and bleachers at Enterprise AttendanceCenter.

School board members talked about how the projects were neededand how the district could use funds from 16 section timbre salesif necessary.

The next school board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. March 26in the central office located on Monticello Street.