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CASD sends out reminder on transportation policy

July 13, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Parents will be getting a reminder in the mail of a change in the Chambersburg Area School District transportation policy that will require students to have the same pick-up and drop-off points through the week.

The school board voted in April to change the policy that previously allowed for a student to be picked up and dropped off at several locations through a week. In 2007-08, students may have one pick-up point in the morning and a different drop-off point in the afternoon, but that "must remain the same throughout the week," according to the letter that will be mailed today.

"It could be," Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Services Catherine Dusman said Wednesday when asked if that means the pick-up and drop-off points can change from week to week.

A second change in the policy states that students will not be allowed to go home on a different bus, even with a parental note giving permission. In the past, students could take a different bus if they wanted to ride home with a friend, according to the letter.

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The district has about 8,500 students, most of whom travel on the 110 bus routes that travel 10,000 miles a day, the letter states. When the issue was discussed in April, Supervisor of Transportation LaDonna Naugle said about 5 percent of students would be affected by the single pick-up and drop-off policy.

In April, district officials said the change would affect mostly elementary school students, particularly in homes with single parents, where there is shared custody, or where both parents work and students are dropped off at the homes of different relatives or at day-care centers.

The policy does include an exception in cases of court-ordered custodial agreements stipulating "shared custody in increments of one week or more."

Dusman said the policy is to better ensure the safety of students by reducing the chances they could be let off at the wrong location, as well as simplify the logistics of busing the students. Since its passage, the district has received few calls, but she expects more as the first day of school draws nearer.

Exceptions to the policy might be few.

"The issue is when you start making exceptions, where do you stop?" said board member David Sciamanna.

Superintendent Joseph Padasak said the district is within its rights to make the change.

"School is a right. Transportation is a privilege," Padasak said, but the district is getting ready to hear from parents.

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