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School officials discuss busing policies

September 14, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A Waynesboro Area School Board member said Tuesday that a letter distributed to families about potential changes to bus policies was misleading.

Children would not be required to ride the same bus every morning and the same bus every afternoon throughout the week, board member Firmadge Crutchfield said.

The board discussed changes at an August meeting to address bus contractor concerns about students’ bus stops changing.

“It gave us the impression it was almost a nightly issue,” Crutchfield said.

Families received letters from the district asking for input.

Crutchfield, who said the letter was misleading about regularly scheduled changes, noted he does not want to penalize parents whose children have a couple different bus stops during the week.

“It’s clear this issue is going to take a lot more research. ... We certainly don’t want to be unreasonable,” he said.
Board members said they’d talk to the district’s transportation director and other administrators about bus policies.

“There’s no decision going to be made on this tonight anyway. We’re still in fact-finding,” board member Chris Lind said.

Kim Dockman, whose two children attend Mowrey Elementary School, offered comment at Tuesday’s school board meeting in response to the letter. Her children ride a bus to a day care center two days a week to accommodate her work schedule.

“I work part time, so I can spend as much time with my kids as I can,” Dockman said.

She places tags on the children’s backpacks to help them understand what bus they are riding that day.

“As a parent, I feel it’s my responsibility to ensure my kids are on the right bus,” Dockman said.

She said she worries about what would happen to some families if children were required to ride the same bus every day of the week.

“The kids may be going home to an empty house if parents can’t change their schedule,” she said.

After the meeting, Crutchfield said he’s OK with students using various stops throughout the week. However, he said those stops should be the same every week.

“We’re certainly not going to put a moratorium on different drop-offs,” Crutchfield said.

The goal is to better manage students and ensure they’re not getting left behind or dropped off at the wrong place, he said.

“We want to make sure the kids are safe,” Lind said.

School administrators provided the school board with a memo regarding how other districts handle transportation. It stated Chambersburg Area School District students may have different morning and afternoon pick-up locations, but the arrangements must remain the same each day of the week.

The memo stated Greencastle-Antrim School District allows for different stops based on parental request, while the Tuscarora School District requires the same address unless there is a court-ordered custody agreement in place.

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