Seattle Public Schools is planning to radically revise transportation plans and school start and end times for the 2012-2013 school year after the Open Enrollment. They have told the Board that their plans are set and little, if any, variation is possible at this late date. This "late date" is four months before school begins.
Despite their total unwillingness to make any changes in their plans, the District regrets their complete refusal to offer any kind of community engagement whatsoever. So they are now trying to remedy that failure by soliciting public input on the transportation plans.
They have a web page about the planned changes to transportation.
From that web page:
Families urged to provide feedbackThis is a complete sham of community engagement. There is no possibility that anything gathered through this process will influence the plan in any way. They are only doing this so they can later claim, disingenuously, that they did some community engagement. This is disgusting and the board should reject it.
The transportation team recognizes the need for community engagement, but the time frame is short because the Superintendent will finalize bell times for all schools by the end of May. As a result, we urge families to provide their feedback via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the short term, we are analyzing options aimed at both saving money and making our bus routes more reliable for our families.
The current proposal would:
- Standardize our bell times from 21 different times to approximately six.
- Make our ride times longer (from 25 minutes to up to 45 minutes) so that we can use fewer buses. Each bus on the road costs the District $46,000 a year, and our goal is to remove 21 buses from the road.
- Ensure buses are full, therefore more efficient.
The web page also describes the new Transportation Task Force, the one that they have been promising for over three years.
Task force to provide recommendationsYou will note that the Task Force is newly formed (does anyone remember a notice asking for volunteers?) The group's first meeting will be AFTER the board's vote on the transportation plan. There is a policy and a superintendent procedure that governs the formation of advisory committees. I'm curious about whether the policy or the procedure were followed.
For the long term, we have established a transportation task force that includes community members, staff from surrounding school districts, Seattle School District staff and special education parents. This group will help us determine a strategy for addressing transportation costs and efficiency measures for the 2013-14 school year and beyond. The group’s first meeting will be May 16 with the goal of providing recommendations to the School Board by fall 2012.