increase in the last year of the contract. Dean explained that the board did due diligence in making its decision and held multiple meetings with Rinehimer leading up to this decision.
Bray and others questioned who the unknown Historic Mountaintop Hotel Inc. is, and asked whether they have qualified drivers. Norb Dotzel, who last month resigned from the Crestwood School Board to serve as Slocum supervisor, stood on the opposite side of the podium this month and asked, “This guy has zero experience –yes or no?”
The Historic Mountaintop Hotel Inc., run by Foley, a certified public accountant who has had dealings in Mountaintop before, asked for less money and was bringing in newer buses, Dean said. He insisted that the school board was making an informed decision in going with the new company and said Foley provided the board with information on his buses, his plans to run them, and where he will store the equipment.
Pointing to Fairview Principal Peg Foster who was hired as new superintendent last year and then had the appointment rescinded, Dotzel said, “In December of ’15, we fired that woman because she didn’t have experience, but now we’ll hire this man with no experience?”
Driver Jolanta Lupo told the board that, next year, she and many other parents will carpool to school before they put their children on buses with strangers. Another Rinehimer bus driver asked Director Randy Swank how well he thinks the driver does picking up Swank’s sons for school each day.
“No one is questioning the professionalism or expertise of the drivers. That’s not an issue,” Swank responded. “We know you do a great job. That’s not what we based our decision on.”
Pete Webby pleaded with the board to consider the livelihoods of the drivers. “Some of these people are single parents. They’re on fixed incomes trying to make ends meet,” Webby said. “…If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Just give these people a chance to make a living.”
Scott Henry, the owner of Rinehimer, told the board that he enjoyed running the buses and working with the Crestwood district. He assured the drivers in the audience that he will employ them all until the end of next year, as he has other business ventures in mind. Many of the drivers at the meeting remarked that they would not work for Foley’s company.
The vote to sign a contract with the Historic Mountaintop Hotel Inc., starting this September, was 5-0. Board members in favor were Swank, Joseph Kaminski, Ronald Sturgeon, Albert Miller, and William Jones. Directors Maureen McGovern and Eric Aigeldinger both recused themselves from the vote.
In other business at the May 12 meeting, the board awarded several bids for improvements at the middle and high schools. T. J. Cannon will be paid $344, 008 for security cameras at the middle school and high school. Mesko Glass will receive $38,000 to replace 46 middle school windows where insulation has broken down and those replacements will have a five-year warranty.
K+H Custom Window Treatments will be paid $12,850 for improvements at the high school auditorium, including dry cleaning restoration of all curtains, sewing repairs, and flame retardant application. Herron Electric will install a LED flood light for the school’s flag pole, at a cost of $725.
New superintendent Joseph Gorham has created a Twitter account for the district, in order to promote the positive events that occur in the school district. Users of the social media application can be alerted of Crestwood news by their smart phones or can view the Twitter feeds on the district’s website, Gorham explained, adding that the new feature provides a way for those following Crestwood sports to get up-to-date information.