published Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Rhea schools battling cost of purchases

DAYTON, Tenn.—Rhea County schools officials should consider purchasing Kindles instead of textbooks, a school board member suggests.

At a school board meeting Thursday, board member Bill Davault said he recently read where a school district in Florida bought the electronic readers at a cost of $150 each for its 1,500 students. With regular planned purchases of other textbooks, one year’s investment could save Rhea County money in the long run, he said.

Rhea County has approximately 4,700 students.

“We’re going to spend $537,000 next year for math books,” he said.

Director of Schools Jerry Levengood, however, said he is not sure about that conclusion.

“Textbook companies are preparing their material with pretty hefty fees per child,” he said. “Once we’ve bought the right to download for each child, I don’t know how much better off we’d be.”

Levengood agreed to check into the idea further.

In other matters, Levengood alerted board members that the county must buy nine school buses for the coming year.

Several buses have about 175,000 miles of service, he said, “and once they hit 200,000 [miles] they have to come off [the roads]. I don’t feel comfortable starting another year with those.”

Several other buses are 15 years old and could be used longer, as long as they pass a rigorous state inspection, he said, “but that’s just delaying the inevitable.”

Finance Director Bill Graham said the county should have funds to purchase four buses.

Tom Davis is based in Dayton. E-mail him at

about Tom Davis...

Tom is the director of public information at Bryan College and has been in the Dayton community for 30 years.

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