Archive for Thursday, April 14, 2011

USD School Board considering cutting busing inside city limits

The USD 348 transportation committee recommended that the school board cut all busing to students living inside the city limits of Baldwin City.

The USD 348 transportation committee recommended that the school board cut all busing to students living inside the city limits of Baldwin City.

April 14, 2011

Any USD 348 student who rides the bus to school and lives in the Baldwin City limits might have to find a different way to school next year.

No decision was made regarding in-town transportation for the 2011-2012 school year at Monday’s USD 348 Board of Education meeting. However, the district’s transportation committee has recommended that the board stop providing busing for students who live inside Baldwin’s city limits.

Superintendent Paul Dorathy made the announcement near the end of Monday’s meeting.

“The committee is recommending that we cut all transportation within the city limits of Baldwin City,” Dorathy said. “That would affect quite a few riders. That would save us between $20,000 and $30,000.”

The transportation committee has been looking at all of the issues regarding transportation within the district, including routes, number of pickups, sending students home with other students and whether or not to charging for bus service. More recommendations might come later, but eliminating service within the city limits will come before the board at the May 9 meeting.

“It would be nice to have a decision by May, but maybe that’s too quick,” Dorathy said. “It would be nice to let people know before they leave before the summer.”

Before a decision is made, Board member Scott Lauridsen, who serves on the committee, suggested the board have a public meeting to hear from patrons regarding this recommendation.

The board set the meeting for 7 p.m. Monday at the District Office. Patrons will be able to come voice their opinions regarding the committee’s recommendation, as well as other transportation topics.

During its meeting, the committee discussed not allowing busing for students living within 2.5 miles from their school. The state reimburses the school district for riders who live more than 2.5 miles from their attendance center.

Although the idea was discussed, Dorathy said it wasn’t given much thought.

“They wanted a more definitive line,” Dorathy said. “Right or wrong, the definitive line is the city limits, which is a definite line.”

Tracy Rockers, district transportation director, said an average of about 340 in-town students rode district buses to and/or from school each day. That number doesn’t include rural students dropped off at in-town baby sitters in the afternoon, she said.


BaldwinDad 7 years, 8 months ago

I wonder where all the parents will be on this one. We they get their kids to show up and report how they love riding the bus and they make friends on the bus so we should keep it.


BigCat 7 years, 8 months ago

All this does is create an additional problem that either the city or school district will have to pay for (and it will cost more than $20K to $30K). Getting those kids to the schools. The vast majority of in town riders go to the PC and IC. There are no sidewalks to those schools (not even a street to the IC). So sidewalks will have to be installed, and maybe even a road. Think that can be done for under $30 thousand? I sure don't. So now one of the two entities will have to pay for it. In the end, it's us taxpayers paying for another bad decision.


BaldwinDad 7 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, but it wont be the school district paying for that, just the City, via the taxpayers.

See, wasn't it a good idea to build those new schools on the edge of town near a Highway where none of the kids could walk or ride a bike to them??

All these unintended consequences, but we can't cancel 7th grade athletics....remember that was only what like $20 grand or so in savings...well what do you know that is enough to keep the buses running.


cjohnso77 7 years, 8 months ago

I don't think that cancelling bus services for children who live within city limits is right or fair. Some children live within city limits but is over 2.5 miles from the PC or the IC. We live on the other side of 56 highway and my daughter who will be in 2nd grade next year would have to walk to school because we live 2.0 miles from the PC and are within the city limits. I believe If the board approves the recommendation there will be quite a strain put forth on parents to get their kids to school safely.. I'm sorry, but a savings of $20,000 to $30,000 really is not a significant amount of money for the headaches and safety concerns for the parents and the children to be put through. I understand some other cities have done this but that is because there are other forms of transportation available, i.e. public buses, bicycle paths and so on, Baldwin does not have any other modes of transportation for the children to get to school. Many of the parents here in Baldwin work out of town and most of us have to be to work prior to 8A on a daily basis. Maybe the transportation department could look at charging a fee for the children to ride the bus for the school year that live within the city limits to help alleviate the cost, this could be included in the school fees we pay at the beginning of the year.


juniorfan32 7 years, 8 months ago

I think they need sidewalks and lots of crossing guards to get the little kids across the highway. We are 2.2 miles from the PC which I think is too far for my 2nd grader to walk. I feel that is not safe at all. Everyone else is cutting in town riders so I am sure we will too. Sounds like the before and after school rec program is going to need to get "beefed" up because they will be full when this passes. Sad that our kids' safety has to suffer to save a few bucks.


10130 7 years, 8 months ago

You do not need to cancel bus service. CHARGE FOR THE BUSING! There are lots of school districts that tell parents "If you want your child to ride the bus, it will cost $150.00 for the year." What do you think of that??? Like this forum will cause anything to happen! I bet if you want something done, I guess you better find out when the next School District Meeting will be and make your "opinion" known to the people who can do something about it. Hey, didn't we just elect new people to that board??? :)


Goldie 7 years, 8 months ago

Fair is fair.

After reading this I have to admit my first inclanation was to bitch about lack of bus service. After some thought on the subject I realized the budget cuts are not just reserved for the former rural schools they are for EVERYONE.

The rural folks took a big hit by closing their closest schools and we want to complain about having to drive our kids to school in town ? I believe that is called a double standard.

Personally I was and am in favor of the consolidation I think it is important to realize we are All in the same boat so make the best of it and realize we are All part of the sollution or problem.


BigCat 7 years, 8 months ago

Goldie, that is the whole reason this was even proposed now. They are trying to make the rural folk believe that the city folk are feeling the pain too. This was supposed to happen before the schools were closed, not after. It was said earlier by the board that $20,000 wasn't enough to bother with. Apparently now it is. The patrons of this district are not foolish enough to believe that this is any thing else than an attempt to create a sense of fairness. It is not. All this does is cost either the city or the entire district more money than will be saved. Sidewalks, streets, school crossings, and crossing guards might all have to be bought and paid for if this passes. Not to mention major congestion at dropoff and pickup points.

Do they really think we are that big of fools?


Bloggerboo 7 years, 8 months ago

You all are so cute. You just don't understand much but you like to complain and play the blame game.

First of all, neither the city nor the district will be laying down new sidewalks anytime soon. Where would they put them? The only place they might even be necessary is on Elm west of 11th. That is where several current kids walk and ride to school. Once they reach the end of Elm, guess what? Sidewalk all the way to the IC. No kids at the BESPC are old enough to walk alone, so no need there either.

Furthermore, I am certain that the board and super continue to search for cost-savings that have the least impact and get the most bang for the buck. The number of students who ride buses and are in town now is probably pretty low, and if you aren't packing the bus full, then it is a considerable waste of gas and maintenance, and bus driver pay.

They are also likely still cutting costs in anticipation of even more state and federal education budget cuts. Not at all to appease any rural folks or make them think they aren't alone in this. If they don't already know they aren't alone in this, they have their heads buried and are willfully ignorant.

Please at least try to be realistic folks.


Goldie 7 years, 8 months ago

Ok big mouth. Exactly how am I playing the blame game when I was supporting the fact that cuts effect everyone not just the rural patrons and everyone needs to buck up. You completely missed the point . My post had nothing to do with being cute or play to any particular audience. You are one of the people who chooses to remain in the past and not move on. I would suggest you get over past issues and yourself. If neither of those work then just shut up !


Bloggerboo 7 years, 7 months ago

I wasn't talking about you Goldie. Mostly the others like Cat and Bdad, etc., who just like to complain no matter what the BoE does.


BaldwinDad 7 years, 7 months ago

I actually haven't found much the BOE or Dorathy have done right lately simply because they have been making so many mistake lately....don't blame me for their incompetence.


Torch 7 years, 8 months ago

No one really cares what a vocal minority thinks.


barfly 7 years, 8 months ago

Somewhere Tony Brown is laughing.


lisagaylesmith 7 years, 8 months ago

This won't impact sports in any way so it is definitely something the board would consider. Now, if it was going to hurt a sport or a coach then it would go no further. Do I think it is a good idea? No. The 320 children that ride the bus from town will now have to be dropped off. They already just forced 150 more students to either ride for nearly an hour or be driven to school. Why not add 320 more students and their cars to the congestion and the backed up traffi?. Let's see if we can make it a twenty minute wait to drop the kids off in the two new schools in the morning. Perhaps closing two schools added to the bus routes so that they needed to be divided and there are not enough buses to go around. It would be ironic if some of the people in town who pushed so hard for our rural schools to be closed, lost their free bus service because of it. Make some noise and try to get the board to listen but they have already made up their minds. Town meetings won't matter. Reasoning with them and begging won't matter. At least they aren't closing your school and shipping your children to another town so consider yourself lucky.


Torch 7 years, 7 months ago

Curious if you can tell me what percentage of the overall budget sports consumes.

I'll bet you can't. If you could you wouldn't even pipe up about this.

Beyond that, the children participating in athletics learn more significant life-lessons than they do while sitting in class doing crosswords and watching movies. Children who participate in extra-curricular activities - particularly sports - have a higher success rate after graduation than those who don't.

I believe St. James Academy REQUIRES participation in sports for at least one year. All schools should do the same.

The truth is that sports prepares our children better for life than in-class instruction.


greyghost 7 years, 7 months ago

Sports are extra-curricular in a public school setting. They are not a necessity. Look that up, if you need to.

I think that learning how to read and write and do algebra is way more important than volleyball, baseball, or soccer. I think it's pretty queer that you think otherwise.


BaldwinDad 7 years, 7 months ago

"The truth is that sports prepares our children better for life than in-class instruction."

Wow, that statement speaks volumes of your ignorance....

When was the last time you were asked on a Job application what High School sport you played in or what roles you had in Drama or Music class.

Sports/Drama/ Music classes or activities are useful and can provide a benefit to kids their is no doubt of that, but they can also be provided by groups like the BCRC or the Lumberyard Arts Center much more efficiently then our school district can.


a_modest_proposal 7 years, 8 months ago

I have proposed a two component solution to the new school board and they seem quite receptive.

Instead of scrapping the in town busing, we will institute a Zero Hour policy. Each bus driver will teach a class on the way to school enabling classes to be let out an hour earlier, saving $16,000 in administrative costs over the year and allowing us to eliminate two teaching positions.

An additional $17,000 will be generated in income from the new toll booths built on the two entrances to the school compound. ALL vehicles incoming must pay the toll including the teachers.

Other measures to increase truancy are being carefully studied in order to keep class sizes down for a better education experience.

I'm very relieved that we may finally have a chance for our common sense solutions to be heard by elected officials.


felixiscariot 7 years, 7 months ago

Originally I was getting bus rides to BES back in the early to mid 90's... One day my family was told unless we lived further than two miles from the school "as the crow flies" I was not allowed to take the bus to school because I was within a safe walking distance. My parents were upset, mostly because we lived 2.3 miles from the school at the time. Several years later we moved across town to a house EVEN CLOSER to the schools than our previous house and the children on our block were getting bus rides everyday. Was I lied to? Did something change? Baldwin needs to figure some "crap" out...


straightforward 7 years, 7 months ago

I was unaware in-town students were even riding the bus. We always walked but we only lived five blocks away. Seems like it should be possible to have four or five bus stops throughout town. No student would have to walk more than several blocks, it would be less expensive and more efficient.

I know it's water under the bridge but this is just another consequence of the foolish majority that voted for the bond issue. I sure hope none of the people complaining about this are the same people who voted to abandon a perfectly fine, centrally located building in favor of two separate buildings with poor auto access and no pedestrian access.


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