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Ad Hoc Committee Unable to Find Viable Alternative Bell Schedule

The school board will vote on the originally proposed elementary schedule at a special meeting on June 18.

Following more than two weeks of analyzing data, discussing various scenarios and running simulations, Centennial's ad hoc committee on the elementary bell schedule could not create a workable solution to the controversial issue.

In a blog posted Thursday evening on the Centennial web site, committee chair Mark Miller wrote the following:

After reviewing the several parameters given for the committee's narrow scope, the various members began the task of reviewing the results presented by the District's Transportation Supervisor. None of those options were consistent with the directive given to the committee at its formation.

With no viable alternative, the school board will vote on the current proposed schedule change during a specially scheduled meeting on June 18 at 8:30 p.m. If the proposal passes, the new full-day schedule will look like the following:

  •  will begin classes at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m.
  • Davis Elementary and  will begin at 9:00 a.m. and dismiss at 3:45 p.m.

The original resolution was at the May 22 meeting to allow the ad hoc committee time to come up with an alternative. Made up of board members, administrators, elementary school principals and parents, the committee approached the issue with the goal to have none of the schools end at 3:45 p.m., which has been the major source of friction for parents.

Several options were considered, including with the parochial school students, finding a third party contractor or increasing the bus fleet. Ultimately, the committee could not produce a result that would have a minimal impact in terms of tax increases or additional schedule changes for the secondary schools.

The board will also make its vote for final approval of the 2012-2013 budget at the June 18 meeting, which will be preceded by the Finance Committee meeting at 7 p.m.

concerned citizen June 17, 2012 at 03:44 AM
That's funny because 6 of the 9 board members were there in 2009/2010 when the consolidation of the schools were decided.
ingrid June 17, 2012 at 01:22 PM
@Michelle - Frist, the kids are not standing up for themselves the parents are involved in this battle. Secondly, my son went through the system and is a successful 21 year old, but growing up in this area my whole life I have seen a shift in the way things have been handled on the District side and the way some parents deem it necessary to handle issues that arise. I am glad you enjoy hearing about your children's day as I also did being a stay-at-home mom. I have also stated in past posts that I don't necessarily think a fancy degree of some of our board members leads to any common sense whatsoever, however, parents should be fortunate, myself having been acquainted with Dr. Foight-Cressman over the many years, that we finally have a superintendent that has integrity and also is open to listening to the parents.That was not always the case in years past. When it was necessary, I always took the position of questioning a situation if I was not pleased with what was going on so I wish all you parents success in coming to a positive resolution in this matter. Sidenote - Unfortunately Michelle those ill behaved and spoiled children surround us all and the parents who have raised kids who are respectful and know their boundaires can be proud of that fact. As I see some of these ill behaved kids, I wonder what happened to parenting your children.
Michelle Hazlett June 17, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Ingrid, My children are very respectful, polite and friendly to all. I agree with you about Dr. Cressman. I have spoken with her many times and I honestly think she listens to us. You say the kids are not standing up for themselves and I agree that is why we as parents have to do it for them. Have THE KIDS been asked what they want??? NO!! I am glad your son is successful and happy. Did he have to go through everything our kids have been going through? We (student and parents) keep getting smacked over and over for things that we had nothing to do with. I want to know why we are paying the price for the boards dicisions. When is it going to stop? I guess my post to you did seem harsh but I am tired of people calling us whiners and complainers just cause we don't want to lose time with our children. I believe that if you think something is wrong than you should stand up and say something. I don't think it is a bad thing to teach our children to do the same. I work evenings as an EMT so I could be home with my youngest during the day and not put him in daycare. Now with the later dismissal time it will be less time that I have with my oldest child. It is just very frustrating!!!!
Michelle Hazlett June 17, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Very Good Point!!!
Emily Cohen June 17, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Michelle, you asked if the kids have been asked what they want. I can tell you that as a responsible member of the committee, I spoke with parents and students who would be affected by the staggered schedule. Almost all supported it, fiscally and emotionally. The point I made in the last meeting is that while we as a community may be focused on the end time, we have not thought about the impact on the start time and related bus schedules. Due to the consolidation, there would be more students in need of the bus due to distance from the school. An 8:30 start time (as part of the staggered schedule) would necessitate some children (as young as 6) getting on a bus at 7:35. My middle-school child gets on the bus at 7:28. I would never support such an early start time for the younger children in this district. Remember that the bus scheduled drop-off time in the morning must allow enough time for getting settled into the school day (unpacking, actually getting to the classroom, etc.), as well as breakfast for those who opt to have it. It is unreasonable to expect that all the elementary schools would be able to start at 8:30. It directly conflicts with some of the middle-school bus times. As far as your work schedule, as you stated you work evenings, wouldn't you in theory gain more time in the morning with your youngest? I feel that if members of the community realized how early the children could be on the bus, they might show more consistent support for the staggered schedule.
concerned citizen June 18, 2012 at 07:30 AM
Emily, the drop-off in some instances now doesn't allow much time for getting settled into the school day & this is before the move for more bus riders. My children don't get picked up until 8:27 & they are lucky to be at school by 8:55, with a 9:00 start time. Everyday at Klinger there are buses getting there at 7:55 or later. Klinger starts at 8 am. There is no way that next year, even with this disgraceful staggered schedule & late dismissal, will all the children be at school at a reasonable time. The bus schedule is a mess already, even with the consolidated bus stops. Who's doing this schedule? Something is wrong here. That's telling me they don't have enough buses. This board has no choice but to purchase buses either way. Children wait around after school now, why would it be any different next year with staggered times? There would still be 2 huge schools with a lot more children needing a bus. Are you going to tell me that the wait & ride time is going to be a considerably shorter period of time? I don't think so. With or without the staggered times & the very late dismissal of 3:45, there would be no huge differences in the long bus rides and the waiting for a bus at dismissal. I can tell you that as a parent, I spoke with many parents and students who would be affected by this schedule and they were certainly not supporting this. I have children in 3 schools in this district and all the parents I talked to did NOT support a 3:45 end time.
Michelle Hazlett June 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Emily, My youngest will be going to kindergarten in the fall. I may gain 30min with both of them but what can you do on a school morning at 7:30am? That is not quality time. My oldest got up at 7:10am for school and was picked up at 8:06am and still did not make it to school until 8:35am. Is 10min enought time to get to class, unpack etc? When he was at Leary he started at 9am and was done at 3:15pm. It is not my fault or my child's fault that the school board waited until the last minute to do this. They had 3yrs to figure this out. Did they really not think this would be a problem in the long run? You say you spoke with other parents and children. I know some are fine with it and if it works for them, great! I know some kids would rather sleep later in the morning but do they realize that they are losing time in the afternoon to do other things. I am sure you were a responsible member of the committe and I don't question your sinserity. I am just tired of my family and many others paying for the boards stupid mistakes. It's like if your child makes a mess do you clean it up or do you tell them to do it? It is the boards mess so they should be resposible and clean it up.
Daniella June 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Emily- for Davis parents, no time is gained in the morning as the start time remains the same. Its just the end time that is 30 minutes later. Personally, my kids are up earlier anyway so I would much rather have had the earlier start time and still end at 3:15pm. As for the issue that this is going to reduce the bus waiting time, call me skeptical. With the additional traffic (also factoring in a higher load of parents picking kids up which is likely), I am sure the waiting times will be almost just as bad, and now even later. I can realistically see kids not getting home until close to 5. It will be a traffic nightmare, especially intersecting with rush hour. The thing that gets to me most, though, is that now we have all this talk about how we have to do the responsible thing and not overspend and not purchase buses that are needed. Buses should have been at the top list of expenditures. There were years to factor them into the budget and maybe if they had been factored in from the beginning, we wouldn't have purchased other items which are "nice haves" but not necessities like the buses that need to transport our kids at a decent time! Other items could have been cut from the budget over the past 3 years! And now we're stuck and paying for this incompetence. I work opposite hours with my husband (he works nights, I work days)- mutual family time is limited and very precious. This directly and negatively impacts us.
Pamela June 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM
As a working mother, my children have either been in daycare or in school by 7:00am. It is not an issue for the children, as long as their parents have them on a bed time schedule. I would love to know how the majority of those effected by staggered schedule "Almost all supported it, fiscally and emotionally" when the results of the poll reflected that only 9% supported it? I believe 64% preferred the curent time. As fas fiscally supported it. Let's remember that staggered dismissal times DOES NOT solve the transportation problem. It is only a band aid for next year. It has already been stated that the non-public schools are going to require additional buses. Therefore the district is going to have to buy buses. There is no way out of buying buses, whether they do it this year or next year or they wait another 4 years. I simply want to know: What is their long term strategy to solve the problem?" They can not continue to put off today what they can do tomorrow and then forget about the issue as they have done since 2009.
Daniella June 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I also would like to know why one of the options that had been communicated by the Ad Hoc committee, which was to purchase the 2013 buses in 2012, was taken off the table. It just seems that there were all these different alternatives and then nothing - they all failed, and we're back to square 1.
Pamela June 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM
It really doesn't matter what the committee did or did not do. It was set up to fail from the beginning given the narrows confines of its direction. The Board will vote to stagger the schedule. There will still be overcrowding, late buses, and students waiting. More parents with the ability to pick up their children will choose to do so, adding to the traffic congestion. Come next year taxes will go up again because Admin and transportation will say "The staggered bell schedule is not working and we now have more riders than anticipated. The best possible solution is to buy more buses". It's like watching a horrible train wreck about to happen and not being able to do anything or even look away...
Jane Lynch June 18, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Pamela, Such wisdom you do seem to have!!! I truly hope you are wrong but I somehow believe you are on the right path. I do not want this staggered bell schedule but, the vote tonight at 7:30 pm SPECIAL MEETING needs 5 votes to be defeated. Let us see who joins me tonight!!
Daniella June 18, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I agree. Anyone that thinks this staggered schedule is going to result in more efficiency, with wait times and buses, lets talk in Sept. I would actually love to be wrong but I have a feeling we are just creating a bigger mess!
Pamela June 18, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Mrs. Lynch unfortunately I do not believe you have the votes to defeat this motion. The Board seems to have an "alliances" or a "party" feel to it and we know who will vote in support of others. . I do not believe this vote will be any different, 6-3 in favor of the staggered times. ( maybe 5-4, the 4th vote is up in the air and could vote either way).
Warminster Dad June 18, 2012 at 03:45 PM
EVERYONE WANTS TO JUST BUY MORE BUSES. Have we stopped to think about what else will be cut as a result of more buses. We lost 20 teachers so far and the next thing to go will be Art, Music, Sports and For. Language. THESE ARE WHAT THE KIDS NEED FOR COLLEGE. Things will be cut if you just throw more money at the problem and not work for a solution within the confines of what we are presented. The extra time is not board mandated but Federally Mandated, otherwise the board could play with the times differently. Stop thinking just about the child in your house only, but the children of the district as a whole. Think about what they will need for the future. You are thinking and basing your decisions on elementary school child who will not get to run and play for an extra 15 minutes when we should be thinking about what programs will be cut and not be available for the child in the future. LOOK DOWN THE ROAD, NOT AT YOUR FEET.
Jane Lynch June 18, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Pamela, How can anyone vote for this motion: 45-60 minutes of children riding on a bus in CSD? 250 Students on over crowded buses? Routes that at not safe? Tell me how anyone could vote for this and be on the School Board??
Pamela June 18, 2012 at 04:48 PM
If you think that this is over 30 mins of extra time, you are seriously not understanding the transportation crisis. Do you really not understand that even with the staggered bell schedule, OLGC is still going to require additional buses from the district that we DO NOT HAVE? If the District's only option in order to accomandate our current student rolls is to stagger the bell schedule, what option will they have when OLGC increases their student population? This is not even taking into account the population increase that Admin and Transportation is anticipating in our own public schools(hence the uneven distribution among Region 1 and Region 2 schools). The district has three options: 1) cut services and buy buses or 2) raise taxes and buy buses, or 3) deplete the reserve, and buy buses. It is not what the community wants to do, It is what the district MUST do in order to alleviate the transportation problem. There is no easy way of this mess, and cuts will be have to be made, just as buses will have to bought eventually. Why disrupt everyone's lives when this solution will not solve the problem in the long run?
Emily Cohen June 18, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Very well-stated, Warminster Dad. Will you be at the meeting to state those views? This is what the board needs to hear. Many of the posted opinions are so short-sighted. We need to consider the global issue: the best education for our students, not the most playtime for the youngest group.
Pamela June 18, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Mrs. Lynch, According to the article "With no viable alternative, the school board will vote on the current proposed schedule change during a specially scheduled meeting on June 18 at 8:30 p.m." I believe that the current proposed schedule change is Willow Dale 9-345pm,That is what I believe the Board will vote in favor of, instead of leaving the times as is and forcing transportation to take the next 5-6 months and search for long term solutions to the crisis.
Pamela June 18, 2012 at 05:06 PM
although I would love to know how you were given a product for review that resulted in overcrowded buses and dangerous routes. Those are 2 variables that one would think would have been marked as absolutes (unacceptable picks) and would automatically force the program to calculate another scenario......
Warminster Dad June 18, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I have never seen these numbers you state except for what is unacceptable. The staggered schedule is not supposed to have kids on the bus that long and is not supposed to have 250 kids on a bus....the legal limit is set by the bus size. 66 passengers is acceptable. 250 is just a number stated to scare the parents. Can we not spread unrealistic numbers to people.
Michelle Hazlett June 18, 2012 at 05:15 PM
They are already cutting school programs and we have not bought 1 bus yet!! 2 music teachers from Willow Dale were let go. I believe that leaves 1 music teacher for 950 students. I do not have a problem with the extra time...it is the dismissal time!!! You talk about college and what kids need to get in..Don't colleges look at extra activities outside of school too?? I realize that you are looking into the future but what about right now. We do not want the children to become drones and only have time for school and studies. We want our children to be well balanced and to have a childhood. Children GROW UP way to fast and we should cherish what time we have with them while they are young!!!!
Jane Lynch June 18, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Warminster Dad, My post is in reference to what that AD HOC COMIITTEE received as a MEMO from the Transportation Dept dated June 13th and was distributed to the committee.at the meeting on Wednesday night to review the options.
concerned citizen June 18, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Warminster Dad, I don't know where you've been. If you went or watched a board meeting, you would know that it is not Federally Mandated for the extra time. It is board mandated because the catholic school students go longer. They wanted to bring the district up to what the other schools were doing. For as long as I can remember, the catholic schools always had a longer day. They taught the same things, the difference is they have an extra class everyday. That is religion. Believe me, noone wants their taxes to increase!! I read somewhere that your children rode the bus, so you should know that as of now, there are not enough buses. Starting in Sept. there would be an increase in bus riders. Even with the staggered times, there would still be a longer bus ride in the morning and just as long wait time after school, if not longer. Or a longer bus ride after school because now they are going to add traffic issues to the scenario. Every year they let teachers go, which really stinks. They are letting another 20 or so go next year, also. It has nothing to do with buying more buses. If they buy more buses or not, they are still going to let more teachers go. My school taxes go up every year regardless if they buy the things (buses) they need or don't need, but want. I'd rather my taxes be raised for things our children need, like buses and teachers. There's to long of a ride/wait time now. Next year will be even longer no matter what they decide.
concerned citizen June 18, 2012 at 05:35 PM
So true, but sad.
Pamela June 18, 2012 at 06:01 PM
The best education is cutting teachers? Excuse me, did you see how many of our students failed this year? Short sighted because we understand that staggering the bell schedule is not going to solve the transportation problem? Wave a magick wand, juggle a few buses and your problems are solved? No I would call us realistic. If you thought you had overcrowding and late buses this year, wait til next year. When taxes go up yet again and we still have to buy buses next year, I'm not going to know whether to cry or laugh....
Michelle Hazlett June 18, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Mrs. Lynch, I will admit that I don't know all the financial parts of what the school has in reserve and what money can and can't be used. I know we are getting about $400K for the selling of the schools. Now supposedly that money can only be used for certain things. Who makes that decision? The state? County? Township? Isn't there anyone that the board can talk to and say that we have situation at the school and need that money to purchase new buses? I also heard that there is money in the amounts of millions being held. Don't know what is true and not true but isn't there anyone who can give the board permission to use that money for such an emergency situation?
Daniella June 18, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Thank you for mentioning the Full Day Kindergarten issue! I read in the actual documentation that having full day Kindergarten WOULD SAVE MONEY but yet, that isn't even being considered now. We were told that there would be Full Day Kindergarten with the new school. Is there any wonder that there is no trust or faith in this Board or any of its decisions????
Jane Lynch June 18, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Michelle, Yes there is money in reserve to buy buses. The School District determines how monies are spent. There are some regulations for some spending from the state only on certain items. If you check the budget the sale of the schools is in and roofs for middle schools are subtracted out for that item.
It's Our Money, Not Yours! June 18, 2012 at 08:22 PM
The only way this will be resolved is by spending the pension fund backup reserve AKA the "General Fund". I know it’s hard to spend the public’s money on public buses when you want it there to back up a possible failed pension fund. However we are shining a flashlight on your integrity and you will have to give up money that doesn’t belong to you. Spend the public money on the public!!! You have $10 million in the fund; the buses will cost $1 million. The fact you can even vote on bailing out your own pension fund is a conflict of interest.

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