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Cutting costs

    If there’s anything good about the struggling economy over the past few years, it’s that government is learning to operate with fewer dollars. It’s no longer business as usual and those who spend taxpayers’ dollars are having to learn to do more with less. In many cases that has meant thinking outside of the box.
    Take the latest proposal by Bedford County Public Schools, for example. In an effort to cut its budget the school board is considering a suggestion to change the start times for schools in order to reduce the number of school buses that will have to operate. Elementary students will start their day about half an hour earlier than now and secondary students will start a half hour later than this year. This way, buses can double up their routes, saving as much as  $380,000 for the year.
    Under the proposal elementary schools would start their day at 7:55 a.m., ending at 2:35 p.m. and middle and high schools would begin their day at 8:55 a.m., ending at 3:35 p.m.
    Of course, there’s always a cost to making such decisions, in terms of lost jobs. But many of those bus driver positions that would be cut could be eliminated through attrition, much as the majority of the positions cut from the school system this past year were.
    In addition to the positions lost, the school system would save on maintenance costs.
    The school board has said it will look at this year’s budget, line by line. These are the type of issues that, with a little change a lot can be saved. That type of thinking deserves a thumbs up.

Personal responsibility
    Several times a year, the intersection of Main Street and N. Bridge Street lures some tractor-trailer drivers into the trap of personal irresponsibility.
    Signs directing through truck traffic away from that intersection haven’t stopped some of those drivers from making the turn from Main to N. Bridge. Periodically that leads to an accident. Unless someone is there to witness it, more often than not, the accident goes unreported. The drivers haven’t been very good about admitting their mishaps.
    Last week provided just such an incident.
    A tractor-trailer making the turn from E. Main to N. Bridge didn’t make a clean turn. That resulted in the awning on the corner building being struck. Again.
    The incident happened at night so it wasn’t discovered until the next day. By then, whoever the driver was who made the turn was long gone.
    The damage was done. This isn’t the first time that has happened. Or even the second.
    Bollard posts have been torn down, replaced and torn down again.
    Unless law enforcement is lucky enough to be close by when it happens, the truck driver slips out of town undetected.
    Maybe as early as this week, new signs will go up at the intersection stating that through tractor-trailer traffic is prohibited.
    Even those signs aren’t likely to stop all of the drivers from trying to make that turn. It’s a shame, however, that those who make the turn and hit something in the process just keep on truckin’ through. Those folks deserve a thumbs down for their actions.