A special meeting of Cabool Board of Education was held Monday evening, October 26, to review and clarify the school district’s transportation policy.
The policy, which went into effect this school year, allows a child to have a primary address for pick-up and drop-off and an alternative address. Some parents had understood the policy to allow two places that a child could use as needed, being able to switch from one to the other, rather than having a primary and a secondary stop. Superintendent Robin Ritchie told the school board that since the last board meeting, when some citizens had complained about the policy, she had spoken with principals, secretaries and school bus drivers to get their input, and she and transportation director Rex Dotson had worked to clarify the wording of the policy. “Our objective was to clarify the use of ‘alternative,’” she said. Ritchie said the policy offers two options: a primary stop, which would be the bus stop the child uses daily, and an alternative stop, a back-up location on another bus route that could be used in the event that something unexpected comes up and the child cannot go to his/her primary stop. This does not allow for two full-time regular stops and “switching around all the time,” she noted. “We are not in favor of going to more than two stops,” she said. “You can’t make a policy that will cover every single circumstance,” Ritchie noted, adding that she was confident everyone involved would work together and be sensible about the policy. “It comes down to having trust in the persons in charge.” Dotson said, “We’re not trying to make it harder, just safer,” adding, “We’re going to work with people the best we can.” The board approved the following wording for the district’s bus pass policy: In order to keep safe accountability of students, your children will be allowed only 2 drop-off points: primary address and 1 alternative address. The alternate route should be utilized when unforeseen or unexpected circumstances arise that make it unsafe for a child to be dropped off at their primary stop location. The alternate stop will not be used as a regular stop. (In divided custody situations, each household will be permitted a primary and alternate stop.) When a student needs to go to their alternate stop, the parent should notify their child’s school by 12:00 p.m. No other bus passes will be given.
The bus pass system for alternative bus stops is used so that in case of an emergency, administrators will know who is riding a particular bus and who to notify in case a serious problem arises. The maximum safety level for bus riding students is a main concern when designing bus routes. Sometimes a student will need to get off the regular bus some place along the route other than home. All the parent needs to do is send a note with the student. The student needs to give the note to the driver; a pass is not needed in this instance. New students who will be riding a school bus are required to contact the transportation office before the student may start riding. Drivers are not allowed to make stops or change the bus route unless the transportation department has approved it. So if a student moves to a place elsewhere in the district, the parents will need to contact the transportation office to set up a bus stop. The vote on the bus policy was unanimous by board members Kevin Clary, Cyndi Flanagan, Brenda Jarrett, Mike Luerssen, Ted Noirfalise, Brad Roberts and Shaun Watson.
News Article By: The Cabool Enterprise