Deal Reached with Johannes

Characterizing the Putnam County School District’s meeting with the Johannes Bus Co. as “positive but very hard,” Superintendent Jay McCracken informed the school board on March 17 issues have been resolved.

The goals of the meeting including airing the list of concerns the district has regarding Johannes’ service, asking Johannes to admit that they have had problems, and to come to an agreement regarding protocol for any future bus incidents.

The issues at hand stem from a Feb. 18 incident where a Johannes bus went off the road near Putnam County Junior High School on Swaney Road. Johannes initially gave the impression to the district the bus was empty when, in fact, there were students who had to be evacuated through the bus’ back door emergency exit.

At the meeting, the district, represented by McCracken, has hammered out a very specific new contract stating expectations the district has of Johannes. In the case of an emergency evacuation or incident, Johannes will contact emergency help as warranted. They will then contact the district office and nearest school building. Passengers are to remain on the bus unless emergency dictates they disembark. Johannes and the district will coordinate to contact parents or guardians of school children directly involved in the accident. The district also requests a written account of any incident along with GPS and video/audio data be sent to the district office within 24 hours of an incident.

If any of these conditions are not met, then Putnam County School District will have the right to break the contract with Johannes.

“At this particular time, they understand that should they fail to follow protocol, then they will result in the termination of their contract,” McCracken said. “That will happen if they fail to follow that protocol. They are aware of that from that meeting. We feel very confident that they will respond positively with this, and that’s a better resolution to this than a lengthy lawsuit. That’s what we wanted all along was to insure the safety of our students.”

Source: Putnam County Record