School board approves adding third lane at Southside Elementary
The Woodford County Board of Education agreed Monday to spend $54,054 to add a third lane to the driveway at Southside Elementary School. The unanimous vote came after a lengthy discussion about why adding a third lane was needed to accommodate buses and parent vehicles for student drop-offs in the morning and student pickups in the afternoon. Principal Jason McAllister said several parent vehicles were arriving at Southside Elementary to drop off their children before buses arrived, which caused traffic congestion issues. Not only were buses getting caught "way back in traffic," he said other vehicles - not picking up or dropping off students - would use the exit lane to enter the school's parking lot, which has become a safety issue. A third lane is "not going to eliminate traffic - traffic is still going to be there," acknowledged McAllister, "but the traffic combined with the fact that (drivers) don't have an option to come in safely is where" concerns arise. "We've had several near-misses with cars trying to go around the buses - they can't see around them," said Kay Tegethoff, director of transportation. ".So it's more of a safety (issue) from my standpoint." In addition to the safety concerns, McAllister pointed out that bus drivers are not allowed to drop off students until all buses are safely parked in the bus circle, which becomes problematic when buses get caught in the morning traffic congestion. "I don't know what else you could do in the short-term to make the situation manageable and safe every day without hiring somebody to stand out there and direct traffic," said McAllister. ".It is a situation every morning and every evening - and it's not going to go away." The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) must now approve this change order to the Southside paving project, which originally only included repaving the existing two lanes, before work begins to add a third lane to the school's driveway. The project's general contractor, H. G. Mays Corporation, "would love to have it done by (Aug.) 10," said Chief Operating Officer Amy Smith, "but . I'm at the mercy of KDE." She said available building fund dollars would cover the additional cost of putting in a third lane at Southside. Policy change The board had a second reading of policies related to staff working days, sick leaves and vacation days so they are consistent with school handbooks.