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Will Hanover Blow Millions Converting School Buses to Compressed Natural Gas? Get Out Your Checkbooks!

 

Hanover resident Kim Singhas attended the Joint Education Committee meeting on Wednesday 1/28/2015 where the Committee discussed converting the county school buses to natiral gas. The cost of this project is simply staggering and will cost Hanover taxpayers dearly if implemented. -Editor

I attended the Joint Education Committee meeting yesterday Wednesday January 28, 2015 with other members of the community who wanted to learn about the proposed CNG conversion ( Compressed Natural Gas) of Hanover County School Buses.

The PowerPoint  presentation was given by Mr. Marvin Fletcher, General Services Director of Hanover County. The slide deck is attached.

Mr. Fletcher did his best to sell a pilot program on CNG to the JEC. The Final conclusion by Mr. John Budesky, Hanover County Deputy County Administrator, was that “We struggled to make this Break Even with 2014 Fuel Prices.”

Meaning: this is not feasible at this time and we can’t afford it and the logistics don’t work.  The proposal suggested school bus drivers would have to drive to Richmond to refuel the buses each day.  Let that sink in- Hanover schools would pay 4 hour per day contracted school bus drivers in Hanover to drive to Richmond to refuel their buses? Hanover can’t currently hire enough school bus drivers for the current routes. Buses are sitting empty because of a lack of drivers.  There was a discussion about the possibility of truck stops at Lewistown Road and Ashland intersections on I-95 being possible future CNG fueling stations. Currently you have to risk your life to exit the interstate at these interchanges.  Can you imagine a fleet of school buses refueling at the truck stops each day with the 18 wheelers?

Mr. Budesky stated  at the JEC meeting that this presentation by Mr. Marvin Fletcher in consultation with Mr. Ashby, Superintendent of Transportation, involved 80 man hours of research.  80 MAN HOURS by a highly compensated county employee because Supervisors Canova Peterson and Wayne Hazzard proposed a study.  Here’s an idea Mr. Peterson- find Bing on your computer the  next time you feel inquisitive and research it yourself without costing county taxpayers thousands of dollars. The same goes for Mr. Hazzard now that we have learned he was a Consultant for Afton Chemical for over a decade.  80 man hours for this FOLLY.

It’s no small wonder the school board can’t make progress on key issues related to the important needs of children in the classroom like increasing access to  STEM classes and technology with Mr. Peterson and Mr. Hazzard and others on this committee wasting the school board and school administration’s valuable time.

Mr. Budesky, to his credit, was the only voice of reason in the room among those who participated in the discussion.

This proposal for a study originated from Supervisors Canova Peterson and Wayne Hazzard. JEC minutes are not found on any county website despite the fact that  it is a public meeting.  ODD.   A resident of Hanover must contact Mr. Budesky in county administration to obtain the minutes from a public county meeting between the school board, county administration, and the Board of Supervisors.

According to  the March 27, 2014  JEC minutes ( attached) Item number 3 Last paragraph:  Mr. Peterson and Mr. Hazzard discussed potential for use of alternative fuel vehicles and possible benefits and requested staff to review and bring this issue back to a future meeting.

When Mr. Hazzard asked Mr. Fletcher if there were any safety concerns he said “NO”- he was not aware of any safety concerns. So much for his research- we found a safety issue: a BlueBird School bus exploded in Chattanooga Tennessee refueling. see the link below:  Even more frightening is the image of a  busload of student athletes travelling 65 mph down I-95 in a Molotov cocktail on their way to a sporting event.

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2013/aug/19/blast-shakes-east-ridge/116375/

I walked away from the meeting wondering if Mechanicsville Republican Supervisor Canova Peterson is a Left Wing Liberal progressive Tree Hugger who wants to convert school buses to GREEN ENERGY for Sustainability to save the environment or if Peterson and HAZZARDOUS were put up to this because someone in Hanover wants to invest $2 million in a CNG Fuel Station and needs the commitment of the Hanover  County School Bus Contracts to make this a lucrative investment. Always follow the money.

And remember if the Board of Supervisors fails to vote for  Live Streaming for County Meetings set for the Feb 11th  BOS Meeting due to lack of funds- they wanted to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on this Folly but you wouldn’t have known  about that due to the nature of JEC SECRET MEETINGS and lack of transparency and live streaming. I’m glad I could shed some light on this issue. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

Yesterday’s meeting reinforced the need for Elected School Boards in Hanover County.

Are the elections in November becoming more interesting to you?

http://www.herald-progress.com/?p=19594

 

 

Below is the agenda for the meeting:

DRAFT Joint Education Committee

Agenda

March 27, 2014

1:00 p.m. -2:30 p.m.

Board Room A, Hanover County Public Schools Administration Building

Members Present: Wayne Hazzard, Canova Peterson, Glen Millican, Hank Lowery,

Staff Present: Rhu Harris, Dr. Wilson, Dave Myers, John Budesky

Guests: Sean Davis, Angela Kelly-Wiecek

 

  1. FY 2015 Budget Public Hearing Follow Up

Dr. Wilson addressed several comments from the Public Hearing including plans to address air quality issues at two schools. Two schools will be monitored throughout the spring. Upon completion of monitoring, the evaluation reports will be reviewed and plans for remediation, if needed, will be executed. Funds have been included in the budget to address these issues. Mr. Peterson suggested several items mentioned at the Public Hearing have already been planned for or addressed and including several of the technology related items. Dr. Wilson shared that operating system improvements and instructional staff laptops solutions are being evaluated and funds have been budgeted to begin resolution of these items. Roll out of new software and machines will be rolled out over a six to eight month time frame. Office 365 is being implemented. Support requirements of the new software and equipment are also being evaluated.

 

School personnel continue to evaluate solutions for student technology needs. Dr. Wilson clarified the solutions must include the most relevant technology. After additional evaluation and research, recommendations and budget considerations will be presented at a future date.

 

Software and technology improvements continue to be a top priority of the school system and will be reviewed and updated annually. Replacement schedules are being reviewed and updated to meet growing technology needs. Mr. Peterson questioned the use of personal computers and devices as options. Dr. Wilson shared that the use of these devices are being considered in their evaluations and planning. Security of information and network must be considered when evaluating the use of personal computers. Web based curriculum is being considered in the evaluation of new equipment and well as evaluation of network speed capabilities.

Dr. Wilson stated she would be developing talking points as follow up to the concerns addressed at the Public Hearing.

 

  1. Joint Effort Update – Information Technology & Human Resources

John Budesky summarized the follow up efforts of both the school and county staff to address shared Information Technology opportunities as identified in the Internal Audit Report on IT. Data Center, including virtualization options and other storage options are being evaluated for opportunities to improve cost effectiveness and improve redundancy. Staff are researching opportunities to leverage the LaseFiche document management system for record retention and the continual improvement of access to information. Email options and storage solutions are being evaluated and opportunities for consolidation are under consideration. Network provider options continue to be reviewed to assure consistent and reliable service to both entities. Software upgrades are underway and opportunities to share Financial and Human Resources systems are being evaluated. Staff continues to partner and collaborate when possible and when shared opportunities exist.

 

John provided and update on the planned Internal Audit review of each of the respective HR departments. Staff from each entity have committed to fully participate in the audit and are looking forward to the process and eventual recommendations. The process is planned to begin by the end of May and will continue throughout the summer with recommendations planned for late summer/early fall. The internal Auditor will be evaluating all factors of both departments and identifying areas for efficiency, cost savings, and potentials for consolidation or improved collaboration. Other county models and best practices will be researched.

 

  • Outstanding Issues

Mr. Davis shared that he would be adding an additional Board of Supervisors member to the JEC and shared the schools may consider the same.

Mr. Millican shared his discussions with Dr. Wilson regarding additional opportunities to utilize social media to educate residents about effort within the school district.

Ms. Angela Kelly Wiecek shared comments she received about school delays and cancellations regarding snow. She requested additional information be shared with parents regarding the reasons for closures when it may not always be apparent to parents in different areas of the county on why schools are closed or delayed. Dr. Wilson share she is developing FAQ’s for the website to assist in parent education on the decision process for school closures or delays.

Mr. Peterson shared that he received feedback regarding the denial of school facility utilization by SPARK. School staff were unaware of a denial, however, Dr. Wilson agreed to research the issue.

Mr. Harris was requested to share the School Board reappointment timeframes and process with the Committee.

Mr. Peterson and Mr. Hazzard discussed potential for use of alternative fuel vehicles and possible benefits and requested staff to review and bring this issue back to a future meeting.

 

  1. Future Meeting Date and Time and Agenda Items

Discussion occurred regarding a next meeting in late May or June and staff committed to working with the committee on an agenda and setting the next meeting.

 

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.

Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

3 Responses to “Will Hanover Blow Millions Converting School Buses to Compressed Natural Gas? Get Out Your Checkbooks!”

  1. This can’t be real. It just CAN’T be.

  2. Kim Singhas says:

    Thank you, Tom for reporting the CNG pilot proposal to the Joint Education Meeting this week.
    This is yet another example in the long list of poor decisions made by Mechanicsville Supervisor Canova Peterson and South Anna Supervisor Wayne Hazzard since they were elected to the Hanover Board of Supervisors. It was this duo who voted to eliminate $52 million in proffers when our older schools desperately need funds for infrastructure and maintenance repairs. They are now raising property assessments in Hanover County and lobbying the General Assembly to give the board taxing authority to raise taxes without a referendum- like meals taxes in Hanover County. Hanover needed that $52 million dollars, apparently. The 2015 budget is up 5% over last year to $391 million. Gone are their 2011 campaign promises to cut waste and keep taxes low.

    In 15 minutes of research I concluded on my own that conversion of 306 Hanover School Buses to CNG was not feasible, economical, safe, or practical yet Mr. Peterson had the county spend 80 man hours on research to drive a pilot which I understand from my sources in the school system will not be approved. Wednesday afternoon was yet another complete waste of county staff’s time for Hazzard’s and Peterson’s FOLLY. It had nothing to do with improving education in Hanover Schools- a scenario that plays over and over with this board and their school board appointments.

    The citizens of Hanover County deserve better representation. The school board appointments have been political patronage appointments for years in Hanover County- carrying the water for the board that appoints them to their $8000 per year positions. Elected school board members would have stopped this charade on CNG before 80 hours were spent trying to sell the pilot. What do men in their late 60s, 70s, and 80s who refuse to use the county email system know about the needs of Hanover Public School students in 2015 when it comes to STEM Classes, computer skills, and technology? The dinosaurs won’t cooperate with the citizens who desperately want High Speed Internet for their students at home or understand the need for more computer and IT classes in the schools so they can be competitive in the job markets. The students of Hanover County deserve more from the voters. It is time to vote these supervisors out of office in November and elect school board members from the communities who care about their children and the schools in their neighborhoods. It is time to elect parents who have had children in the schools after 1985- people who are much closer to the issues and challenges facing our youth.

    I am stunned to learn that a majority of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors hold no college degree. And yet they appoint the Hanover County Board of Education? Not the voters. What are their qualifications to appoint representatives to manage a $171 million dollar budget and the educations of 17,000 students? Do you know the qualifications of your school board members? The chairman, earning $9,100 annually is a homeschooler. That’s the best kept secret in Hanover according to Chickahominy residents who shared that at a recent meeting.

    Why has a college drop out been on the school board for years? Managing a nearly $200 million dollar budget during his tenure? Will the voters continue to vote that supervisor to the board now that Patrick Henry High School has lost its accreditation in math? The voters have choices- they need to search for qualified candidates and in that process demand that supervisors running for office will support elected school boards in Hanover County.

    It’s time for the School Board members to stop the feeding frenzy for their political patrons at the trough of Hanover County taxpayers and concentrate on the education of the children. Elected School boards will solve the obvious problems with the schools.

  3. Mr. Green Jeans says:

    VA Right Readers-

    I graduated from Patrick Henry High School many, many years ago- The supervisor this young lady is speaking of went to PRISON for tax evasion and the Good Old Boys in Beaverdam District just keep electing him. Old Buckaroo- he didn’t graduate from any college and neither did his school board rep who flunked out of Virginia Tech his first year- ain’t the smartest knife in the drawer. But that’s Buckaroo’s policy- don’t appoint anyone smarter than you or they might run against YOU- Look em all up

    Now that’s leadership- appoint the bottom of the barrel to all the boards in Hanover County.
    Buckaroo Leadership 101

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    Tom White Says:

    Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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