The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Education

March 28, 2014

Parents, providers seek info about preschooler bus routes

CLINTON — A new busing policy for the Clinton School District has some local residents up in arms for what that means for their children, and how district officials plan on handling their concerns.

Some questions arose during Monday’s Clinton School Board meeting as several troubled parents and child care providers filled the board room wanting answers about the policy change that will be implemented next year.

However, those who wanted answers Monday felt they were not addressed by the transportation department or Superintendent Deb Olson.

“I was at the meeting the other night and it was my first real chance to verify something,” district parent Dick Mayer said. “They basically said it wasn’t the right time to discuss it but my feeling was that’s where this stuff should be discussed. (We) have every right to address it in that open forum.”

Instead of addressing the issue during the meeting, Olson asked that people approach her individually with their concerns because the new busing policy is not a “blanket system.”

According to the new policy, 4-year-old preschool students will now be required to wait for the school bus at designated stops instead of their previous door-to-door system, which allowed them to be picked up at their homes or day care centers.

Also with the changes, those students will now ride collectively with elementary students of all ages.

“We were running so many preschool routes, we wanted to look at a way to eliminate some,” Olson said. “It costs us, each month, about $35,000 for preschool bus routes. The less money we spend on transportation the more money we can put back into the preschool programs.”

In order to do so, Olson and the district’s transportation department began in November discussing ways they could effectively reduce those costs while maintaining student safety.

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