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Massena addresses academy’s bus request

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MASSENA — Massena Central School District Board of Education members have approved a bus request for the Holy Name of Jesus Academy, with one caveat.

The academy will have to pay for the six hours of down time the drivers will have between dropping off and picking up students and staff.

In their letter to Massena’s Board of Education, the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus Academy asked for three 60-passenger buses and their drivers to take approximately 180 people from the 337 Trippany Road school to Potsdam on Nov. 14. The buses would leave the academy at 8 or 9 a.m. for Potsdam and would return at 3 or 4 p.m., according to the letter, which said two buses were needed for the return trip.

“However, we would be grateful if we did not have to pay the drivers for the six hours in between trips,” the sisters wrote.

Board President John R. Boyce said Thursday night that he had concerns about the timing of the trip and the payment of the drivers.

“One is from an operational standpoint,” he said, pointing out that the date would interfere with regular school busing.

“It’s an operational conflict with our own busing at the time on a Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon,” he said.

Mr. Boyce also shared his concern about the drivers’ pay for the six hours they would sit idle.

“I cannot see how they cannot have to pay for that,” he said. He suggested that the drivers would have to agree not to be paid during that time or the Holy Name of Jesus Academy would have to pay them.

Superintendent Roger B. Clough said the academy and others in the past had requested not to pay drivers when they were idle. “It isn’t a new request,” he said.

Mr. Clough also said the board in the past had approved the request without question. “Just a reminder; we’ve done it for other groups,” he said.

Board member Michael J. LeBire made a motion to approve the bus request on the condition that the school pay for the drivers for the full time frame, subject to the discretion of Transportation Director Allen W. Rowledge.

Holy Name of Jesus also requested one 60-passenger bus to take students to the Candlelight Concert on Dec. 2 at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.

The bus would leave Massena at 12:45 p.m. and return about 5:30 or 6 p.m., meaning the academy also would be responsible for paying for the driver’s down time on that occasion.

Mr. Boyce and board Vice President Ronald A. Faucher opposed the motion. Board member Leonard Matthews was absent.

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