Buses for Bonnaroo Contract.jpg

Coffee County Schools entered into a contract with organizers from Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival to provide transportation of festival employees prior to the event. Pictured, the contract names the county as a whole as a party to the agreement. It's not clear from the signature page who the signatories were.  

Update: This story has been updated with comments from the director.

On Aug. 9, Coffee County Board of Education approved for the Director of Schools Dr. Charles Lawson to enter into a contract with Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival to provide bus services to shuttle festival employees to the property leading up to the show. The action was made contingent upon approval by the board’s attorney.

Presumably unknown to the board, the contract that was signed Aug. 20 is in apparent violation of board policy.

Board of Education policy 3.402 concerning Special Use of School Vehicles says, “County-owned buses may not be used by groups outside the Coffee County School System except in cases of emergencies,” which it defines parenthetically as “catastrophe relief.”

Dr. Charles Lawson responded:  

"The statement in the policy does not have any legal footnote.  The board has the authority to take any action through a majority vote as long as it does not violate state or federal laws or guidance." 
 
The contract for an estimated $19,000 total will include trips to and from the Offsite Box Office Industrial Plaza, the festival site and hotels in Murfreesboro and Manchester and will run on Sunday, Aug. 29, Monday, Aug. 30 and Tuesday, Aug. 31. Two buses will be used on Sunday and Monday, one 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and one 3 p.m.-11 p.m. On Tuesday, three buses will be used from 6 a.m.-3 p.m., 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and 4 p.m.-midnight.

According to the contract, the county will provide drivers and necessary resources to provide the service.

Policy 1.6 states that “any board policy or part thereof may be suspended by an affirmative vote by a majority of the members of the Board,” yet policy 3.402 was not addressed at the meeting.

Dr. Lawson, Chairman of the Board of Education Dr. Gary Nester and Director of Transportation Tim Morris have reached out to for clarification on the policy and for details of the availability of drivers to fulfill the contract. 

Dr. Lawson also furnished the following schedule for the contracted bus runs:

8/30
1 BUS - 8AM to 5PM
1 BUS - 3 PM to 11 PM
 
8/31
1 BUS - 6AM to 3PM
1 BUS - 1PM to 10PM
1 BUS - 4PM to 12AM
 
The schedule in an email between Mr. Morris and one of the event organizers provides more detail and is copied and pasted below:
 
8/30 - Monday
 
BUS 1 - Starting at the Cred check in at 8AM running loops to site and back until 4pm 
BUS 2 - Starting at the Cred check in at 3PM running loops to site and back until 11PM
 
8/31 - Tuesday
 
BUS 1 - Starting at the Cred check in at 6AM running loops to site and back until 2pm 
BUS 2 - Starting at the Cred check in at 1PM running loops to site and back until 9PM
BUS 3 - Starting at the Cred check in at 4PM running loops to site and back until 12AM
 
"Mr. Morris has worked out the schedule of bus use and has ensured that buses and drivers are in place for the transportation of students.  I wish that we had extra buses and drivers, but we do not," Lawson said. 
 
 
 

 

John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, enjoys painting, dancing and exploring the outdoors.

Staff Writer

Download the free Manchester Times mobile app at the app store. John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories.

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