I attended the Audit and Finance committee meeting this afternoon. On the agenda was discussion around accepting funds from the City for the two-tiered transportation system.
Pegi McEvoy, Assistant Superintendent of Operations, reported that she had attended the Families and Education Levy committee yesterday.
- the Committee voted 4-3 to not to fund the two-tier transportation thru the Levy funds BUT said the City should fund this from another source of funding. (McEvoy later told me that a good source for the funding might be from the revenue from the school zone cameras which has generated about $14M).
- that the vote was only for the bus costs and not for another item, school crossing guards. The guards will be funded and, apparently, with more dollars at about $400K which would fund up to 106 positions. This funding would be coming from Traffic funding within the City.
- that there several issues from schools. She noted that when the BAR for this item came to the Board, there might be several tweaks to it in addressing some of the issues that schools have noted.
For example, Loyal Heights, which is in Tier Two because it is at an interim site, has requested to be in Tier One when they return to their school.
As well, principals have been surveyed as well as polling by principals at their school communities on transportation issues. (Anyone polled at their school by their principal?)
Director Harris, who chairs the Audit and Finance Committee, asked if transportation moved to two tiers and since the high schools uses fewer yellow buses, could student athletes access buses later (and stay in school longer)? She noted that the district has been using private transportation buses for some athletes (something I had no idea was happening but I have seen these buses at Roosevelt and I wondered how much that was costing).
McEvoy stated that athletes would still miss 6th period but fewer would miss 5th period since Metro is, well, now mostly in the metro area.
One interesting thought from McEvoy is that some high schools that don't have sports complexes may start slightly earlier in order to get on afternoon buses for sports events on-time. (That would mean that some high schools like Roosevelt, Garfield and West Seattle might start slightly earlier and end earlier.)
This all will involve some coordination with Parks concerning the joint-use agreement.
Nate Van Duzer, Policy and Board Relations, who previously worked for CM Burgess noted that the Committee only recommends and the Council is not required to follow their recommendation.
Harris asked who on the Committee voted against the funding via the F&E levy funds. McEvoy said she didn't know everyone on the Committe and was not sure but it was likely public record.
The Mayor was waiting for the Committee's recommendation and then his staff would be drafting the resolution.
Director Blanford asked if the urgency of a decision had been transmitted. McEvoy said City Council President Harrell, who sits on the Levy Committee, had recused himself from the vote. However he indicated that he was aiming for a June 7th date. June 15th was noted as the "drop-dead" date for the district. If the money does not come thru by then, the district will remain with three tiers.