The Ohio County School District will have a monthly cellphone bill of $4,591 for the next year.
The Ohio County Board of Education approved the school district's new cell phone contract with AT&T, and the agreement gives Ohio County Schools a total of 140 phones for a monthly fee of $4,591. The school district presently utilizes a total of 103 cell phones, and pays AT&T $3,500 a month, according to Superintendent Dianna Vargo.
Among employees issued school district cellphones are the district's administrators, as well as those working in the maintenance, nutrition and transportation departments. Most of the cellphones have been distributed to the district's bus drivers.
"Each bus operator has one," she said. "We do have radios, but cell phones enhance our communication efforts."
Vargo said cellphone communication most often happens when the transportation office needs to communicate with one driver specifically, and there is no need to take up the radio band and address all drivers.
"Sometimes there just needs to be communication between the transportation director and the bus driver," she said. "He might tell the bus driver over the radio, 'Sometime today, give me a call.' It's an additional resource to use for communication."
Cellphones also are helpful to truck drivers who deliver meals for the district, according to Vargo.
"Someone at a school may have to call one of the truck drivers, and tell them, 'we need more mashed potatoes, come back'," she said.
Vargo said there were no plans to distribute the additional cell phones in the new contract to additional employees, but that the district would have them available "on an as need basis."