In the midst of the Roslyn School Budget Scandal the Board of Education in the Roslyn School District has decided to amend the busing policy of picking children up in front of their driveway and instead switched to corner/cluster bus stops.
As per a letter of the Acting Superintendent of Roslyn Schools the stated purpose of this change is to save $125,000 per year. The board's attempt to save money is laudable, but is extremely misguided and is putting the children, some as young as 6 years old, at risk. Most of Roslyn is hilly and windy, offers limited visibility, and lacks sidewalks. There are tremendous amounts of construction and landscaping vehicles traveling in the morning/afternoon not to mention the commuters who are always rushing to make their morning train. In the fall, landscapers in Roslyn for weeks on end pile leaves into 2-foot wide piles in the streets for pickup, significantly reducing the safety of our streets. This is not even to mention the snow banks and ice patches that will build up during the winter months.
At a board meeting on September 7, where only one out of seven board members have elementary school-age children and attended by the parents of about 150 elementary school children who were outspokenly concerned about the safety of their children, a brave 7-year-old put it best when he spoke to the board and said that he just didn't feel safe waiting in the street for the bus.
In its zeal to save money the board has created buses that are overcrowded and unsafe and the board finally admitted it wasn't really sure how much the net savings would be in the new busing policy.
It was apparent to anyone who attended September 7 meeting that there is a tremendous amount of unresolved safety issues with the new school busing policy. These issues should have been worked out prior to putting a new bus policy in effect. And, the parents of these young children should have been given adequate notice to voice their concerns prior to this change.
It was disclosed at the board meeting that the board had agreed not to terminate a summer recreational program benefiting less than 200 children (as compared to the roughly 1,000 elementary school-age children in Roslyn) which would have saved the school district roughly $225,000 because the board felt it could not give the participants adequate notice of its termination. Most of the residents in Roslyn discovered the change in the school busing policy only a few days before school started when a notice was sent out by the Acting Superintendent. Why was the board so concerned about adequate notice for a summer recreational program benefiting 200 children and not adequate notice/public comment for the parents of the 1,000 elementary school-age children in the district when their children's safety is at issue?
The Roslyn Board of Education is so haunted by the past Roslyn School Budget Scandal and so intent on cutting budgets that it doesn't see a tragedy waiting to happen. Money should not be at issue when the safety of the children is at issue. But even so, one concerned parent at the board meeting raised the issue that Roslyn recently saved $100,000 a year by hiring Acting Superintendent Dempsey over the board's first choice. This would mean that the net cost to the Roslyn School District of having a much safer busing policy would be $25,000 per year or about $2 a month per student. Even if the cost were $300,000, is this a risk the board should be willing to take? Or will it take a tragedy for the board to take notice?