Board again will consider changes to Washington County school bus rules

October 29, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

The Washington County Board of Education will again consider changes to school transportation rules that went into effect in August.

The new policy has been brought up by School Board members several times for reconsideration. It was discussed in a committee meeting Tuesday, when members agreed to bring the issue before the full seven-member board at its Nov. 6 meeting. Committee members are Board President Roxanne R. Ober, Board Vice President Donna Brightman and Board Member Bernadette M. Wagner.

Brightman said she expects a vote will be taken at that meeting on several possible amendments, which include changes to the appeals process, including two morning bus stops and adding two afternoon bus stops for high school students.

The current policy restricts students to one morning bus stop and one afternoon bus stop, stops that may be different.

Several parents and grandparents attended Tuesday's meeting asking that the policy be changed. Most asked for two consistent morning and afternoon bus stops. That has been considered and voted down by the School Board in the past.


Tom Janus, a former candidate for the Washington County Board of Education, spoke in favor of the policy saying it achieves the "greatest good for the greatest number."

Parents have been outspoken against the policy, saying it affects their legal child custody arrangements, time with their children and daycare availability.

One parent at Tuesday's meeting said she could lose custody of her child because of the transportation rules.

The committee members said that a portion of the policy that states that one section of the document will be reviewed in one year could be expanded to cover the entire policy. The policy could be reviewed at that time using data from the year it was in place, they said.

Some parents have filed appeals for exceptions to the new policy. Because the policy states that exceptions can be made only in the case of an "emergency," Brightman said parents are becoming frustrated and have proposed changing the appeals process.

Wagner suggested that perhaps parents of younger students should receive an exception to the policy if after-school daycare is not provided at their school. This year Cascade Elementary does not have daycare.

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