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Thursday, September 07, 2006

District 15 Controversies Continue

Disclaimer:
For anyone who has been following the drama in School District #15, the post may be interesting to you. For anyone who hasn't been following the drama, but wants some background, here are some links of previous posts to get you started (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII) - and many more in my archives where those came from. For anyone else, feel free not to read this post. For those of you still with me, here goes:

I have been hearing much buzz in recent days about some major busing problems that have been affecting the District 15 private school community. Some examples include:
  • A 6-year-old child received her bus card in the mail with the time of pickup imprinted on the card. The time was 6:50 AM. For a 9 AM start time. When the girl's parents called in to the district transportation office, she was told a variation of "due to the rejection of the budget, we had to consolidate bus routes to save money".
  • A parent was waiting at the bus stop a full two hours after her child was dismissed. When the parent called the transportation office, she was told "bus routes this year should be expected to be an average of 1 1/2 hours each way due to budget cuts".
  • Numerous reports have come to my attention of schools who formerly had a greater number of bus routes routes having had those routes consolidated into longer, extremely overcrowded routes.
  • More than a few pre-school children's parents have reported estimated bus routes in excess of 1 1/2 hours.
  • I have heard many complaints of bus stops having been changed to unsafe intersections, or those far from a child's home, with no apparent added route efficiency.
Basically, it seems that bus routes are suddenly running longer, more crowded, and with arbitrary and often unsafe pickup locations.

Now, I have no way of knowing if the public school bus routes have been similarly affected, and I would love to hear any first-hand information either way. I am curious whether pre-school children being bused to the public schools are being forced to wait in the pre-dawn hours at bus stops that are further from their homes than in previous years, and in some cases extremely unsafe locations (no sidewalks on walking route between home and bus stop, no sidewalks to wait on when at bus stop, corners of extremely busy intersections), and being returned to the same bus stops hours after dismissal - as I am hearing reports of private school children being forced to do. I am curious whether the length of the public school routes have been extended by a half-hour to an hour each way - as has occured on private school routes.

I am also curious as to how much of a dent these cuts could possibly have made in the district's huge budget. At this point, the private school community has the burden of financing the majority of the budget, yet only utilizes about 8-10% of the district's resources. I find it hard to stomach that the minimal services received by the private school students should be considered the place to cut the tiny bits of fat from. Especially in the wake of other recent additions to the budget - such as the recent raise, (plus car stipend, etc?) given to the superintendent. Or the expansion (this year) of the public school pre-K program to include children who are not from low income households. (Although this expansion was "covered" by a government grant, it apparently will still cost the District a pretty penny.) Or the fact that despite the district having completely cut busing for pre-K yeshiva students due to budget cuts a few years ago, and then the recent consolidation and overcrowding of yeshiva routes due to more supposedly necessary budget cuts, all of the newly enrolled public school pre-K students have miraculously found spots on buses.

Please, any enlightenment would be much appreciated.

67 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard stories like that all day yesterday. My friend's daughter waited all morning at the bus stop (her bus was suposed to come at 7:05, I think). She kept calling the office at the public school, and a lady there told her to keep waiting. Finally, after over an hour, when the school had already starytd, they called the woman again and she was telling them they should hav just driven her. Thanks a lot. I don't know if that is just regular first day issues that always happen, though.

The overcrowding I heard about too. I heard that my son's elementary used to have 3 routes now they have 2 for the same number of stops.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son was refused boarding onto his bus. He is in 5th grade, and his bus pass puts him on the 6,7&8th grade bus, which has different start and dismissal times. Oh, and my daughter's bus never arrived this morning. I had attributed all this to first week adjustment issues, but now I'm not so sure!!!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Distrct 14 is just as bad.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a "no-show" bus to Shulamith. I spoke to the trasportation office at the district, and they were very courteous and helpful. They are working with Independent to try to fix this. Let's not jump to conclusions. Yet.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pre-1A (kindergarden) kids are no longer picked up at their door, but must be brought to the corner (or nearby block). My wife called the transportation office and was told this is the same for all kids EXCPET for public school kids in school #4 and one other PUBLIC school. Note as well that the person who my wife spoke remarked that we should be happy getting the 'special' treatment we receive as private school parents and not make waves or things could get worse.
I would encourage EVERY single parent effected by these changes to file a complaint with NY State. The issue of transportation is covered under NY State Education Law Section 3635. When a school district can budget a huge raise for teachers but then claims it needs to scrimp on gas (as claimed by the person in the transporation office) so you have to wait with a 5 year old for an hour by a corner stop in the cold, something is wrong. Unfortunately, your complains to District #15 will fall on deaf ears - call Albany.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

Has anyone noticed a signficant change in the length of time their child is expected to be on the bus (since last year)?

10:15 AM  
Blogger Boruch said...

Be happy you have a bus.
My kid turns 5 toward the end of December and that means she doesn't get busing the whole year (Dec 1 is the cutoff). I think she is one of 2 kids in her class that must be driven every day.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son was in school 4 last year for services. School 5 eroneously called to set up transportation for my son( who b"h is going to yeshiva this year) and told me he was going to be picked up less than an hour before school started, not 2 hours before.

My children dont get busing to school ( we live .25 of mile from school unless i pay a small fortune) so I or my wife must drive them everyday to school. Which one of you would send a first grader to school by themselves? the kicker is that the school bus passes my house to get to the school.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are people even somewhat surprised at these turn of events. What did you expect them to do after the frum community shoved numerous elections and refrenedums down the throats of the entire distrcit. Did you expect them to come out and try to help us in any way? We should have let things stay the way they were and worked TOGETHER to get things done in a way that would benefit everyone as a whole. There was no reason to have to go ALL OUT to get "OUR" candidates on the board. What has that gotten us now?? Just more aggravation!!!!!! Sometimes it is better to leave things status quo and not rock the boat.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did you expect them to do after the frum community shoved numerous elections and refrenedums down the throats of the entire distrcit.

You mean like the capital fund referendum this year? Last years budget revote? Oh, right, those votes were pushed by the public school community. So just what are you talking about? Before I can even address the sad, pathetic, shtetl-mentality expressed in your comment, you will first have to get your facts straight.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with what you said, however, there is a way to do things and a way not to do things. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that everything "THEY" did was 100% right, but it has to be understood that they have been in the area a lot longer than we have been and it doesn't look right to go and try and bully our way into things.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but it has to be understood that they have been in the area a lot longer than we have been and it doesn't look right to go and try and bully our way into things."

WHAT??
I have been a native of this district since I was a boy (I am in my late 50's) so I don't know how you can say something like that. We bought houses here perfectly legally, anyhow, and we pay full taxes in exchange for a few crumbs of bussing and textbooks. Your attitude is that of a shtetl Jew.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

"I don't disagree with what you said, however, there is a way to do things and a way not to do things. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that everything "THEY" did was 100% right, but it has to be understood that they have been in the area a lot longer than we have been and it doesn't look right to go and try and bully our way into things."

Not to laud every aspect of the recent changes in the school board leadership, but your statements are unfounded and uninformed. The precursor to the recent change of control in the district and the repeated budget defeats was years of increasing taxes and decreasing services coupled with a general careless attitude by the previous boards and district administrations for the needs of the private school community. These changes could only have been brought about in the climate of distrust that was created by previous boards and administrations. Throughout the years there have been endless efforts by various members of the private school community (including elected officials, rabbis, lay leaders, and private school administrators) to bridge the gap between the private school community the district leadership, but there was always an attitude of "be happy you get any services" conveyed by the district leadership. If you do not realize any of this on your own, then it's hard to believe that you've lived in the district very long.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If that is the case, I stand corrected. Finally, I hear from someone who makes sense and not someone always looking to pick a fight.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look people, the bottom line is both sides here, Shtetl Jew and everyone else, are somewhat correct.
While most people here are of the opinion (as am I - for the most part)that we all purchased homes here (many for top dollar - irrelevant gratuitous fact) and pay our taxes - and, therefore, have every right to speak up and fight for what we have due.
HOWEVER – what all you “sophisticated, modern thinking” non-Shtetl Jews must realize is that for every action there is an equal and opposite REaction. If we going to, as a group, go out and try to upset the status quo, raise hell, elect “our own” board members, reject budgets, et, et, et … All these things may very well be ONE HUNDRED PERCENT justified … but you must expect a backlash …repercussions.
Right or wrong, people will react to those who upset the apple cart which is exactly what’s been going on here.
So you see – no need to argue – everyone’s right…folks don’t like us “Brooklyn people” (FYI not all “Brooklyn People” are actually from Brooklyn) invading their sleepy towns (with the planes and the trains) and pushing themselves (you know how pushy those “Brooklyn People” can be – so crass and rude) on everyone else. Well they’re not gonna let that happen…not on their watch … noooo way. Who cares if they pay taxes and don’t even send their kids to the public schools … that’s their choice … if they want to be crazy religious fanatics that’s their problem right?? Eff em’ … why should WE give THEM bus service to their crazy fanatic schools … no way! NO WAY!! THESE PEOPLE think they can just SHOW UP here (buy their homes pay their taxes and be good neighbors) and tell US what do??? Hell No!
This is what we’re are up against ladies and gents and no amount of “logic”, “reason” or “fact” is going to get in their way. So you can either leave everything alone or fight for what’s right and expect repercussions.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm at a bit of a loss to understand this dialogue. Why does there seem to be a debate as to whether or not the busing changes and issues should or should not have been expected?

Isn't the threshhold question whether or not the services provided by the district have actually changed? If so, how and to what extent have things changed? Are the changes (a) justified, (b) legal, (c) reasonable and (d) fair, and how can the current system and level of services be improved?
How did the changes come about? And finally, how has the district's transportation office dealt with issues and concerns raised by parents?

And, what is the position and reaction of the new board to the changes, if any?

4:16 PM  
Blogger BigRed said...

The bottom line to the discussion is that, politics aside, it is ridiculous for 5 year old children to be waiting 30 minutes to an hour or even more on a busy street corner that is 3 blocks from their house when the bus drives right by their block. It is dangerous. I just hope it doesnt take a serious accident g-d forbid, for these morons at the district to make the obvious corrections.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

i've rewritten and erased my comment six times already. If it's anything more than first week kinks being worked out...

6:27 PM  
Blogger OrthoMomsBiggestFan said...

To Anon 4:07 - Good to know us Brooklyn Jews are represented by such cognet writers and deep thinkers!

6:38 PM  
Blogger OrthoMomsBiggestFan said...

To Anon 4:07 - Good to know us Brooklyn Jews are represented by such cognet writers and deep thinkers!

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like there have been some significant changes implemented in the way bus routes are created, including the number of children on each bus, the length of time children are expected to be on a bus, and the distance of some children's bus stops from their homes.

Why would you think that the issues stem from the usual "first week kinks" if the level of service being provided seems to have been scaled back drastically?

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Lawrence resident said...

Well I for one have to say that the people in the transportation office have been nothing but curteous to me. I had to change my son's bus late since he changed schools and they told me "no problem" (in the end he is not riding the bus because it didn't make sense to go to the stop at 7:07 to be the last stop when school is 7:45. But school is less than 1 mi away (and yes he still gets bussing - they always bus into FR even if you are close) so he's been biking - leaves at 7:35.
My other son (6 years old) had a 1 hour and 10 minute ride home today and 1 hour and 20 minutes yesterday, but I am sure that will shorten up. My girls have had no problems - in fact their bus time has been moved up a few minutes.
Give them a break, I think they are trying very hard. It is an impossible job.
If I lived in NYC (FR for ex) I would have 0 of my 4 kids bussed by the board of ed. I have all 4 eligible and 3 using it daily. I am not complaining.
Also to the woman that waited and waited only to be told to drive -
You are calling the wrong ppl. Do not bother the transportation office. They don't know the busses!! Call the bus company. They will get the bus on dispatch and tell you where it is. if it is still out, it will come back for you if it missed you (I have had this happen). Their phone number is 239-1100. If you are nice to them on the phone they are very helpful.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over fifty percent of the Lawrence District's students are in private school. Budgets voted down four years in a row. New York State mandates what the district may do and may not do regarding who gets transported and how. If someone's not getting what they are legally entitled to, let them make their complaint to the School Board and to the NYS Commissioner of Education. But by all means, call Dr. Asher Mansdorf (Board President) first - he's very proactive about helping with these problems - remember the Hebrew Academy's late applicants last year who got their bussing when the Board interceded? Blogging about transportation delays and long bus rides as if "this too" is some sort of backlash by unnamed bureaucrats against people with kids in private schools - as if those bureaucrats have any discretion to cut anyone a break - is just stirring the pot.

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here we go


9/11 TV Film Sparks Clinton Administration Outrage

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first few weeks of school are always crazy. The transportation office and bus company usually correct problems and issues wihtin that time frame. There's a new new supervisor in the transportation department. If the issues are not fixed in the next two weeks, then there is reason for concern. Until then give them a chance to fix the problems.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first two weeks of school are always crazy. The transportation office was hit with more children registering the first day of school than every before. Friends of ours children in this district go to a non religious private school in garden city, they have been picked up at 7:00 am for the past two years. Just the way it is. The prekindergarten at the public school not starting till next week, but for the record, all expenses for the pre-k are paid for by a grant our district applied for and received. All busing is paid for by the grant. I encourage all private school parents to research ny state site, they offer different types of grants to all schools, far better to be constructive then to bash the school district, and the board, which I remind all is mostly private school parents.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no sidewalks on walking route between home and bus stop, no sidewalks to wait on when at bus stop

1. Many bus stops for the public school are on street with no sidewalks, on the North Shore where there are no sidewalks at all all bus stops have the children standing in the street.

2. Pre-k do no wait at the crack of dawn, because, like above said paid for by the state,

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the newly enrolled public school pre-K students have miraculously found spots on buses.

1. Call the state all covered by a grant. Before you print things, know your facts,

2. This is your board, I think if you are this unhappy you should call one of the board members who claimed they were for all children to fix this. Many public school children have been standing at bus stops on busy streets for many years, perhaps the solution for all these problems is to do what lynbrook did, vote as a community to do away with busing, and we won't have these problems,

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the newly enrolled public school pre-K students have miraculously found spots on buses.

1. Call the state all covered by a grant. Before you print things, know your facts,

2. This is your board, I think if you are this unhappy you should call one of the board members who claimed they were for all children to fix this. Many public school children have been standing at bus stops on busy streets for many years, perhaps the solution for all these problems is to do what lynbrook did, vote as a community to do away with busing, and we won't have these problems,

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pre-1A (kindergarden) kids are no longer picked up at their door

I live in huntington and my bus stop is and always has been down the block on a major road, stop complaining, or drive your kids to school.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The prekindergarten at the public school not starting till next week, but for the record, all expenses for the pre-k are paid for by a grant our district applied for and received. All busing is paid for by the grant."

This is completely false. The state grant does not cover the full cost of program without busing and covers only a small part of the cost of busing the kids. That is why the issue was debated endlessly by the board (in public). The state grant that has been provided to the district for the existing program of 90 pre-k kids did not even cover the cost of busing (though it did subsidize the cost minimally).

Let's get our facts straight here, or this discussion is useless.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I live in huntington and my bus stop is and always has been down the block on a major road, stop complaining, or drive your kids to school."

Who really cares what kind of service you're getting Huntington. Was your service scaled back from last year? Do you pay $20k/yr in school taxes for a system that cuts the only service you receive?

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would encourage EVERY single parent effected by these changes to file a complaint with NY State. The issue of transportation is covered under NY State Education Law Section 3635. When a school district can budget a huge raise for teachers but then claims it needs to scrimp on gas (as claimed by the person in the transporation office) so you have to wait with a 5 year old for an hour by a corner stop in the cold, something is wrong. Unfortunately, your complains to District #15 will fall on deaf ears - call Albany.

9:30 AM
Here we go again. Why must it always be the teachers' fault? What contract are you looking at that granted a HUGE RAISE?????

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

because the District's priorities have been screwed up for a long time and the voters have made that very clear

It's time to look out for the interests of children ahead of the interests of teachers, administrators, unions, etc.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets not mix apples and oranges here with transportation law and the teachers' contract.

State law sets the minimums for what a school district must provide in terms of student transportation and Lawrence many years ago decided to offer more than what the state requires.

Enough complaints could prompt the board to examine that policy and reduce bus service to state minimums, saving the taxpayers a bundle considering that over three thousand students - well over 50% of all students - are enrolled in non-public schools and many are entitled to transportation to what one can imagine is probably dozens of different schools.

The bus company's making money, no doubt, but no one called for a review of its contract last year when it was renewed without fanfare or debate. Did Board Member Dr. Sussman, who's son was awarded a forty-thousand dollar "student athlete" scholarship from the bus company the ONE year the company offered it - have anything to do with that?

My kids wait at a very busy street corner for an hour-long, packed bus ride to public school the same as last year (I wait with them, much to their horror and embarrasment). Its not just the private school folks who are suffering.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

Am I misguided or is there something inherently vile about public school parents and administrators constatntly proposing elimination of all transportation services or scaling back transportation services, when everyone knows that transportation is just about the only benefit received by private school children and represents the bulk of the 8% that private school children benefit from the district's budget?

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"district having completely cut busing for pre-K yeshiva students due to budget cuts a few years ago"

Wait - there's been no bus for any of the public school pre-k students for at least the last three years - (I drove that year, so I remember.) Yeshiva pre-K got busses?

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this talk (in this comments and others) about minimum state requirements and how the private school community shouldn't have the chutzpah to complain about receiving the luxury of free busing is equally applicable to the public school community: do you think state law mandates art, music, athletics, drama or many of the myriad services provided to students in the lawrence schools? I tend to doubt it. The fact is that the voters decide what services should be provided by the district whether through budget votes or elections of board members. The voters are entitled to decide to fund extra-curiculur activities and education in arts and music and they are also entitled to decide benefits to private school parents (within the bounds of law).

It's called democracy, and many of the commenters seem not to get it. An example:

Enough complaints could prompt the board to examine that policy and reduce bus service to state minimums, saving the taxpayers a bundle considering that over three thousand students - well over 50% of all students - are enrolled in non-public schools and many are entitled to transportation to what one can imagine is probably dozens of different schools.

Sorry, this is not China or North Korea. The school board is an elected body answerable to the voters. If they respond to complaints as the above comment suggests ("no more candy for anyone!!") they will no doubt get voted out of office and their budgets will continue to fail. Sound familiar?

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is misguided. Why is a policy review "vile" when district policies are constantly criticized as excessive and unfairly applied? You either want reform and tax reduction, the rallying cry of the new board, or you don't.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop wining. A lot of us pay 20k in taxes, too (and don't have to put up with that vile airplane noise). If you're not happy, move to Brooklyn or Queens and watch your tax bills drop significantly. Of course, your income tax bills will go up, but you're all so clever in the 5T that you've probably figured out how to avoid them

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone doubts the classical Anti-Semitic edge to all of these discussions I present to you,

Exhibit A:

"This is your board, I think if you are this unhappy you should call one of the board members who claimed they were for all children to fix this."

Anon 9:12 AM … Please explain to the court what exactly you meant when you wrote "This is YOUR board". You meant the "Private School Sector" right? RIGHT...

Exhibit B:
"Stop wining. A lot of us pay 20k in taxes, too (and don't have to put up with that vile airplane noise). If you're not happy, move to Brooklyn or Queens and watch your tax bills drop significantly. Of course, your income tax bills will go up, but you're all so clever in the 5T that you've probably figured out how to avoid them"
Yeah Anon 12:59! You tell em! We Aaaall KNOW that those Jews...Oh I mean "Brooklyn People" are all so rich because they steal everyone's money and don’t pay income taxes right? Those "Private School Sector" people are all just soooo clever aren't they?

You know..."Brooklyn People", "Private School Parents" ... these are all names that are just one tiny little baby step away from "Kikes".

Sorry "OrthoMomsBiggestFan", I call em' as I see em'.

Anon 4:07

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me a break - the private school community gets together to vote down the school budget and then has the gall to COMPLAIN that some of their services are being cut or altered?

If you voted a budget in, then maybe the busses would have less routes!

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone doubts the classical Anti-Semitic edge to all of these discussions I present to you,

Exhibit A:

"This is your board, I think if you are this unhappy you should call one of the board members who claimed they were for all children to fix this."

Anon 9:12 AM … Please explain to the court what exactly you meant when you wrote "This is YOUR board". You meant the "Private School Sector" right? RIGHT...

Exhibit B:
"Stop wining. A lot of us pay 20k in taxes, too (and don't have to put up with that vile airplane noise). If you're not happy, move to Brooklyn or Queens and watch your tax bills drop significantly. Of course, your income tax bills will go up, but you're all so clever in the 5T that you've probably figured out how to avoid them"
Yeah Anon 12:59! You tell em! We Aaaall KNOW that those Jews...Oh I mean "Brooklyn People" are all so rich because they steal everyone's money and don’t pay income taxes right? Those "Private School Sector" people are all just soooo clever aren't they?

You know..."Brooklyn People", "Private School Parents" ... these are all names that are just one tiny little baby step away from "Kikes".

Sorry "OrthoMomsBiggestFan", I call em' as I see em'.

Anon 4:07

1:31 PM

OBJECTION! YOU're indulging in pure speculation and leading the witness.
SUSTAINED!
Stop putting vile accusations and the like in other peoples comments or hold yourself in contempt.
jury ( nodding agreeably)

gavel bangs! case dismissed, pot stirrer.. ( baby steps away from calling you a jerk )

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Reporter said...

I am a reporter from The Jewish Star newspaper. I was wondering if any of you would like to share your busing stories with us, as we are in the process of investigating the current problem. If so, feel free to call 516-569-4000, ext. 289 at some point on Monday. We at The Star would appreciate your input. Hope to hear from you.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhhh!!! Jewish Star. Yet again. Let's wait for this very depressing and HUGE title on the next week's cover.
How pethetic: getting your story on the blog.

BTW: I am very surprised that PRE-K parents are so very eager to be putting their children on the bus altogether (those kids are only 4 and unless you have a real good reason, you as a parent should be taking your little one to school);
And to live .25 mile away from school and not to walk your child to school, what's up with that. Not to mention that getting your child in the car, putting the seatbelt on, parking the car and then walking him/her to the door (which I would expect a reasonable parent to do with a child in lower grades) takes about the same amount of time as to walk and probably less than a bus drive. You could actually talk to your child and bond, that's a thought.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

leave the Jewish Star alone...maybe under the new publisher there will actually be something to read

3:58 PM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

If there's one thing that parents everywhere complain about, it's busing. If left to the parents every kid would have a car service pick up the kids at the door at taxpayers expense, wait for them if they are late,and drop them at the school door two minutes before class starts. Then on the way home, after waiting for the kids to finish with the chess club or football practice or whatever the car service would shoot them straight home. Or maybe at their friends house every now and then. Or grandma's.

If the bus stopped in front of everyone's house it would take two hours to pick up the kids. Even if it does go "right by"

Don't be a bunch of crybabies. I'm sure the glitches will be straightened out. I stood on the corner of a busy street in the pitch black winter mornings waiting for a bus to private school as a teenager. At least an hour each way. If I missed the bus my parents said too bad, here's a dollar, take the public bus (two transfers) and be late. My daughter is the same age now and my wife is crying that she's gotta hump it home like six blocks or so this winter. "She'll never wear snow boots and she'll be sick all winter. Don't you care?!" We drop her off in the morning. Poor thing has to get up at 6:30 this year. We're raising a bunch of little spoiled brats, here.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

There have been significant changes in the level of service that many children receive, and parents have raised very legitimate concerns about safety and unecessary inconvenience.

Why belittle their concerns merely because you took the public bus when you were a child? I'm fairly certain that your parents didn't subsidize a $93 million budget which amounts to $26k spent on each public school student, while watching their only benefit get scaled back for no apparent reason.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parents boycott buses
In Roslyn, kids will no longer get door-to-door service, must now wait for pickups at corner

BY JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
Newsday Staff Writer

September 14, 2006

For years, the unofficial bus stops for hundreds of elementary school students in Roslyn were right in front of their homes.

But starting this school year, those children are being picked up and dropped off at street corners near their homes because of a policy the district's Board of Education approved in the spring as a way to save money, school officials said yesterday.

A letter dated Aug. 7 from interim Superintendent Gerard Dempsey explaining the new stops set off complaints from parents who said they weren't given any prior notice of the decision and that the street corners aren't safe. This week, some parents staged an impromptu boycott, keeping their children off the buses.

Robby Weinbaum, 7, now has to cross the street to get to the bus, when in the past all he had to do was walk to the end of his family's driveway. His mother, Rikki Weinbaum, said she's not asking for door-to-door service, but would like the stop to at least be on her side of the street.

"They really didn't do the proper research," she said of school officials' decisions on where to put new stops. "It was done a little covertly."

Dempsey, in an interview yesterday, responded that communication about the change could have been better. Parents who believe their bus stops are unsafe should contact the district, he said, and officials will re-evaluate those stops.

There are about 1,500 elementary students in the district and about half were dropped off at individual stops in the past, Dempsey said. With the buses now making less stops, the district is projecting an annual savings of $120,000.

Dempsey said four of about 30 buses have been taken off the public school routes and are being used for private school transportation, which state law requires the district to provide. In the past, the district paid a contractor for private school buses.

But fewer buses means overcrowding on-board, parent Lori Black said. Now students are having to sit three to a seat, and Black pointed out that some seats have had four kids because the younger children are too intimidated to ask the older ones to scoot over.

Black said when she first moved to the area in 2004, her stop was across the street, but officials then deemed the stop unsafe and moved it in front of her house. Now the stop is back to where it originally was.

It's common for Long Island students to have to walk to their corner to wait for the bus, but Roslyn parents said their community lacks sidewalks, and has more hills and curves and distance separating properties.

"My son has to walk 110 feet before he even gets to the street," said Harold Morgenstern. "I had trained my son, who just turned 7, 'Don't walk in the street, it's not safe.'"

Two school board members reached yesterday declined to comment.

In nearby Port Washington, where some houses also are a distance apart, bus stops are at corners. "If we tried to stop door-to-door, it would take a lot of time," Superintendent Geoffrey Gordon said.

Peter Mannella, executive director of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation in Albany, said state laws don't govern where districts must place bus stops. He said some districts consider fuel costs and traffic in deciding to put stops at corners.
Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I as a child walked a few blocks to the bus stop. Come on now folks, give me a break, lets us not make this into a private school public school thing. Our children can walk the few blocks to a bus. All private schools includng catholic schools,prep schools, get picked up very early. I don;t see the point in making this a religous thing. Let are kids get up early and walk to the bus stop with us there parents. The yes generation might learn it is okay to get some excer. and some parents might get to bond with there kids.. Besides just think how much fun it will be to hear our kids say to there children they had to walk to school in the snow. Remember as long as we make the choice to send our kids to private school we do not have the rigt to complain about times, and how we get more. If pre-k busing is an issue call the state, don't forget to tell the state that there are numerous dismall times and the district picks up each time. See how far you get. Let us concentrate on some real issues,

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I as a child walked a few blocks to the bus stop. Come on now folks, give me a break, lets us not make this into a private school public school thing. Our children can walk the few blocks to a bus. All private schools includng catholic schools,prep schools, get picked up very early. I don;t see the point in making this a religous thing. Let are kids get up early and walk to the bus stop with us there parents. The yes generation might learn it is okay to get some excer. and some parents might get to bond with there kids.. Besides just think how much fun it will be to hear our kids say to there children they had to walk to school in the snow. Remember as long as we make the choice to send our kids to private school we do not have the rigt to complain about times, and how we get more. If pre-k busing is an issue call the state, don't forget to tell the state that there are numerous dismall times and the district picks up each time. See how far you get. Let us concentrate on some real issues,

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you think state law mandates art, music, athletics, drama or many of the myriad services

The state does not mandate these services, but it is part of the circullum. My suggestion if you would like the state to listen don't wine about the above, you will not gain any sympathy. Also the district and state don't consider these classes extra, You should ask the board at the next meeting, all these opinions should given the proper audience.I personally think we should totally get rid of busing like lynbrook did . Do you know how much we would save?

11:35 PM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

Whether or not you feel that busing is unecessary, you must understand the frustration of parents (with large families and children attending different schools) who pay high school taxes which subsidize a myriad of arguably unecessary extracurricular programs and have grown accustomed to receiving a small benefit from the school district in the form of busing for their children - and then when finances are tight, they hear a chorus of public school parents advocating that "should totally get rid of busing like lynbrook did."

12:09 AM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

"Why belittle their concerns merely because you took the public bus when you were a child? "

I didn't say I took the public bus. Only if I missed the bus. My point was that I went to a private school outside the district and the bus came when it came. I didn't really LIKE standing in the cold and the dark at whatever unholy hour it was, but my parents certainly didn't call up and complain.

"I'm fairly certain that your parents didn't subsidize a $93 million budget which amounts to $26k spent on each public school student, while watching their only benefit get scaled back for no apparent reason."

First of all, my parents paid their taxes and paid my tuition like all private school parents do.I'm sure the budget for the Lawrence Public Schools was a little less thirty five years ago. Secondly, I think we all know that busing isn't the ONLY benefit.

I'm not against providing good transportation services. My point was that in Lawrence, Hewlett and everywhere else in the country, parents have been complaining since the day after the school bus was invented. Every one complains about their taxes but wants more services. I do. Don't you?

And by the way, on another note, I have predicted among my friends that the advent of private school parents controlling the board in Lawrence (which, as I've said before, I don't object to) will lead to an increase in taxes . Unless the board members are the only politicians in the world who don't want to get re-elected. While I fully support keeping a close eye on the taxpayer dollar, the little bit of fat to be trimmed will be far offset by the demands of the board members' perceived constituents for increased services to the private school students. Like TRANSPORTATION for example.

Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

Secondly, I think we all know that busing isn't the ONLY benefit.

For the overwhelming majority of private school parents, the only benefits are busing and books.

And by the way, on another note, I have predicted among my friends that the advent of private school parents controlling the board in Lawrence (which, as I've said before, I don't object to) will lead to an increase in taxes

You've already lost that bet.

1:01 AM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

"Whether or not you feel that busing is unecessary, you must understand the frustration of parents (with large families and children attending different schools) who pay high school taxes which subsidize a myriad of arguably unecessary extracurricular programs and have grown accustomed to receiving a small benefit from the school district in the form of busing for their children - and then when finances are tight, they hear a chorus of public school parents advocating that "should totally get rid of busing like lynbrook did." "

Since virtually every public school system worth a damn in the country, and most private schools as well, have "arguably unecessary extracurricular programs" it would seem that your opinion is in the negligible minority. (And "unnecessary" has two Ns by the way)

And since I don't hear them screaming, the private and parochial school parents in Lynbrook must be willing to drive the kids or hand them a metro card in exchange for the substantial tax savings they see on transportation. Less than 2 million dollars this year for well over 3000 kids. 3.1% of the budget. It's a community choice.

"You've already lost that bet."

??? The current board hasn't even made a budget yet. Has the tax rate declined over the summer?

1:29 AM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

Since virtually every public school system worth a damn in the country, and most private schools as well, have "arguably unecessary extracurricular programs" it would seem that your opinion is in the negligible minority.

I'd be hard pressed to argue that our district is not unique in many respects. Obviously, my opinion is in the minority, but then again, there aren't more than 3 other districts nationwide, where the majority of the public school bill is footed by private school parents.

??? The current board hasn't even made a budget yet. Has the tax rate declined over the summer?

You ought to bring yourself up to speed on the workings of the district - Or at least follow in the newspapers. At a recent meeting in August, the board voted (despite protests by the minority board members and members of the administration) to return $7 million to the taxpayers, thereby reducing the '06-'07 tax levy from a 4.5% increase to a 2.5% decrease.

So yes - the rate has declined over the summer, and your prediction flopped.

2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'd be hard pressed to argue that our district is not unique in many respects. Obviously, my opinion is in the minority, but then again, there aren't more than 3 other districts nationwide, where the majority of the public school bill is footed by private school parents."

Don't feel bad. This is the USA. Taxes are regreessive. 10% of the population pays 80% of the taxes. Which is by the way a good thing.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

private school community has the burden of financing the majority of the budget, yet only utilizes about 8-10% of the district's resources.

1. It is a little redundant to keep discusing how the private school community finances the school district.
2. public school routes are longer as well. Not as long perhaps, but our schools are not far. Halb and Haftr bus stops are near my childrens and they do not get picked that early.
3. I agree on some stops as being dangerous, and that should be fixed, but how bout giving the school a chance to fix it.

Public school parents are told that our routes were merged because of budget cuts. How is it okay we accept it and wait for the district to fix it. I have a friend who had a problem with the busing, and she went to Dr. Fitz, and he fixed it. How about giving the man a chance.
I agree with the premise that if ps students get pre school busing so should private. The state law is you do the same for both, which is why I called the state to check about a late bus for the public school children, and I was told by the state until the district is off austerity, we cannot change anything,, I do not think they are on either side. I understand that people pay taxes, and want what they want, but it is the choice of each family to decide where to send there child, you choose to go to private school and I respect that, but I pay taxes too, and I can tell you the public school parents don't like that 3.% of our budget goes to busing. If people don't like the taxes, then move., I say that to both sides. This nit picking really is getting old.

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so with the 2.5% decrease, you will problably enjoy $400 per household which will cover Denny's outfit for your daughter or a nightstand for your bedroom set, how rediculous is that. And then what about the next year?

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you invest your money with someone who in the financial services sector as opposed to relying on the school board to hold your money. No body of government is supposed to be keeping taxpayers' money for a rainy day (beyond the the regulatory limits that are imposed on them). Hopefully, the new board will get the ship in order by next year, and we'll see even more long overdue tax savings - Until then, I'd say it's better off in my pocket, than in an administrator's slush fund.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

"You ought to bring yourself up to speed on the workings of the district - Or at least follow in the newspapers. At a recent meeting in August, the board voted (despite protests by the minority board members and members of the administration) to return $7 million to the taxpayers, thereby reducing the '06-'07 tax levy from a 4.5% increase to a 2.5% decrease."

Smoke and mirrors. A one time windfall. So next year it will be 6.5% Or whatever. You know what I'm talking about. Thats like saying that since bubbe kicked last year and you inherited 100 grand that your income is now X + 100k, and then using that figure for future household budgeting and to get a mortgage on a cabin in the Catskills.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

No, next year will be significantly more if the #1 school sale closes by then.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No, next year will be significantly more if the #1 school sale closes by then"

Don't be so sure. Those who want the money put in a slush fund will sue and challange the board vote to return the $ to the voters. Wait and see.

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