Monday, April 29, 2013

Seattle Schools Transportation - Towncars?

From the "Uh Oh" department, KIRO news is going to have a report at 5 p.m. about SPS transportation.   They allege it includes private transportation of "hundreds" of students, some in towncars.  (I knew SPS used taxis.)  I'm hoping the district has a clear explanation AND the KIRO actually gives them the time to explain it.

31 comments:

Patrick said...

I have seen a student getting dropped off in the morning at Jane Addams in a Town Car. Never asked why, and I don't know the student myself. I figured there must be a good reason, right?

Anonymous said...

There has been a town car for years at lawton.

Year 5

TechyMom said...

Town cars are often cheaper than taxis, especially for long-term contracts. It's a different business model.

Melissa Westbrook said...

That's what I suspect TechyMom.

Anonymous said...

When our bus route was too long and over subscribed (three to a seat, well over an hour and a half to make a run), the town car was the district's solution - the outliers (kids who were really off the main drag of the route) were shifted to town cars. Many of us thought this was ridiculous, especially as last year the community stop model worked great. 4 stops, a full bus, and a short drive time. We couldn't imagine this was cost effective.
-Incredulous

Mary Griffin said...

There are many students who receive special education who are routinely transported to school via private transportation. It is often cheaper to employ town car service than taxis or school buses. If this is a slanted piece of irresponsible reporting, which it sounds like it is, they can count on hearing from me.

Rufus X said...

"If this is a slanted piece of irresponsible reporting...."

It's KIRO - slanted and irresponsible are givens.

Anonymous said...

I know of a kid that was "protected by the state" and he received town car service from Ballard to Kirkland.

Also, I think homeless kids might get town car service from shelters to school.

Nor'wester

Anonymous said...

As I'm hopeful KIRO will discover, it's not actually cheaper to use town cars than taxis - the costs are similiar for both. The original thinking behind it, as I understand, was as a supplement to the problems that arose from only having one carrier - this is true for the taxi services as well. American Logistics (the town car company) was originally, in theory, intended to free up other employees to handle more serious issues (safety and security related).

Ultimately, the use of commercial private transport like this is the real issue - not what kind of car the company is using

in the know

Mary Griffin said...

That was a sloppy report. So the school district is trying to comply with federal law and provide transportation to homeless kids, which is required by law. Why do they have to sensationalize this? "White glove treatment for homeless kids?" REALLY?

KIRO is pretty shameless.

mirmac1 said...

Seriously, I'm surprised they don't say that these kids living in difficult circumstances are getting mints on their pillows. Holy cow, what's next, gourmet Meals on Wheels?!

Anonymous said...

Makes me want to find a way to leave mints on pillows.

(zb)

Rufus X said...

It's May sweeps - the ratings period during which the measurable audience sets the ad rates for the next year. Local news stations pull out all the stops for their newscasts - they all do it. It just so happens that KIRO has a reputation of playing loose with their "facts" in an attempt for more viewers. They're the NY Post of Seattle local TV news. Remember last year's sweeps story about the Leschi janitor allegedly bullying students? The one that got KIRO a smackdown from the Washington News Council?

http://wanewscouncil.org/2012/08/15/washington-news-council-to-hold-hearing-on-complaints-from-leschi-school-community-against-kiro7-eyewitness-news/

KIRO will stoop as low as is necessary to get those ad rates up.

Questioning SPS overall transportation plans and policies is certainly valid. I just wouldn't expect any kind of actual facts coming from KIRO.

mirmac1 said...

Makes me want to make sure they HAVE pillows.

I hope Chris Halsne didn't report this hype.

Anonymous said...

The McKinney-Vento Act is a conditional funding act which means that the federal government gives grants to states and, in return, the grantee states are bound by the terms of the act.

If a state chooses not to accept federal funds for these purposes, it does not have to implement the act.

While some states are amply complying with the Act, others are falling short. The failures of states to adequately implement the act—removing barriers to enrollment and developing transportation systems—has been the subject of numerous law suits funded by The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.

(NLCHP) was founded in 1989 by Maria Foscarinis as a non-profit corporation based in Washington, D.C. It is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3)of the Internal revenue Code, and contributions to it are tax deductible. The mission of NLCHP is to prevent and end homelessness by serving as the legal arm of the nationwide movement to end homelessness.

Maureen said...

Reposting for an anonymous who will be deleted (please pick a name - that's the rule here.)

The McKinney-Vento Act is a conditional funding act which means that the federal government gives grants to states and, in return, the grantee states are bound by the terms of the act.

If a state chooses not to accept federal funds for these purposes, it does not have to implement the act.

While some states are amply complying with the Act, others are falling short. The failures of states to adequately implement the act—removing barriers to enrollment and developing transportation systems—has been the subject of numerous law suits funded by The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.

(NLCHP) was founded in 1989 by Maria Foscarinis as a non-profit corporation based in Washington, D.C. It is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3)of the Internal revenue Code, and contributions to it are tax deductible. The mission of NLCHP is to prevent and end homelessness by serving as the legal arm of the nationwide movement to end homelessness.

Mary Griffin said...

Rufus K is right--go ahead and do a piece on transportation costs, but please make it factual and not sensationalistic.

Is it just me, or is the reporter following two kids home and interviewing their grandma just ultra creepy? If that reporter had wanted to interview me after following my kid home I would have told him a thing or two about invasion of privacy!

Watching said...

Mary Griffin is a rising star. I'm sure good things are in your future!

Anonymous said...

If that reporter had wanted to interview me after following my kid home I would have told him a thing or two about invasion of privacy!

If parents don't start raising a bigger ruckus about the Roadmap/iBloom projects with the superintendent and the school board, there will be nothing left of our privacy to invade!

I assume most people reading here on this forum know that the district is planning to give all kinds of personal information about our kids to this Gates/Murdoch venture (which will in turn sell it to other commercial ventures), but does the average parent in Seattle know what's happening?

The word needs to get out.

-Trying to do my part

mirmac1 said...

Where are the real reporters in this burg?

Anonymous said...

I do not think it is crazy to get homeless kids to school but it should be done in a cost effective manner. The district people did not have any idea about costs associated with this service. I think this type of service is ridiculous if the cost effectiveness cannot not be clearly stated. Spend spend spend.

-Long gone

Charlie Mas said...

So the problem is the type of vehicle - a town care instead of a mid-size sedan or a van? Really? Is that the issue?

Someone said...

Don't believe everything you see - the gentleman from the district was being intentionally disingenuous - he knows exactly how much it costs - he just didn't want to be the one called out on it.

And yes, I believe the issue for KIRO was indeed the "type" of vehicle - SPS staff used to do this using vans, then, because of volume, and the fact there are only so many cabs, the towncar company was added - it's a service the provide in many other cities across the country. I too thought it was beyond creepy that they followed that one cab to Bothell - frankly, I'd have called the police - there may have been a domestic violence issue involved and they could have easily endangered those kids - it's one of the scenarios in which the private transportation is used.

Anonymous said...

The yearly cost for a bus route is $8,000. So, if that route has just one person on it (and some do), that amounts to $44 per day or $22 per ride.

-Also Inthe Know

Mary Griffin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Griffin said...

As I suspected a fair portion of these kids are special education.

But rather than turn that piece into another reason to use special education as a whipping boy, Lynne Varner wrote an intelligent and thoughtful response to the KIRO junk at http://bit.ly/12YYkZs

I'm marking this day on my calendar. I agreed with Lynne Varner today.

Meg said...

I am not one to praise the efficiency of SPS, but I don't get the fuss about towncars vs. taxis.

Also, according to OSPI, in 2011-12, both Highline and Tacoma spent more on homeless transportation than SPS did, and Kent wasn't far behind. Highline has about 18,000 students.

So, yes, to echo everyone else (late): crap reporting.

Anonymous said...

The disturbing part of this piece is that the District people did not know the total cost of the program, nor if there could be more cost effective way and didn't care. Then the follow up which I am not surprised about concerning abuse of students by the cab drivers who are not screened as school personal. To volunteer in my school district, you have to have a background check and cabbies transporting the children do not. A Taxpayer

Kimberly Silver said...

The school district is trying to comply with federal law and provide transportation to homeless kids, which is required by law, Thanks for sharing.
Cocoa beach

Pearson S said...

Town cars are more useful than the taxis.
Msp town car service

Town Car Service in Seattle said...

Yes i am completely agree with that town car is more useful than taxi..