Chairman Dr. Carl Barr started off by reading a short statement, which basically asked for those who wished to speak to due so in a timely and professional manner.
“All six of us are very dedicated to the children. Unfortunately some very tough decisions are going to have to be made,” Barr said of the bus transportation dilemma.
He added, however, that all schools within the state are having to make sacrifices.
“Unfortunately, our governor sees it fit to help budget by putting constraints on education,” Barr shared, adding that while prior solutions have been suggested, nothing is set in stone.
Turning the floor over to Terrace Miller, director of special programs for Clinton City Schools, she began by stating, “As you are aware, we are trying to adjust the wait time. We think we have found a solution that may make it better.”
According to Miller, the administration has considered changing the start time of Sampson Middle School to 8:15 a.m., with an end time at 3:15 p.m.
“We feel like if we can move their schedule back by 10 minutes, we can get all the buses there,” Miller suggested, adding that the board also considered moving bus routes, which would put youngster on a bus headed towards their after school care provider rather than making another bus go out of its way.
“This should reduce wait time,” Miller said, adding that they are still making adjustments.
As for children who have to get to school early due to their parents schedule, Miller confirmed that a staff member will be on campus at 7:30 a.m. to accommodate those students’ needs.
Superintendent Dr. Gene Hales chimed in, “Our board is dedicated to making sure the kids are getting home safely. They are your kids and our kids, and we just want to make sure they are safe.”
Hales further explained that due to budget setbacks, the school system simply does not have the resources to buy eight or 10 buses.
“Sometimes there are other factors that play in, and, again, our board wants to accommodate everyone,” Hales summed up.
The floor was then opened to the public, with Genie Tew taking the stage first.
“I want you to consider what your decision has on every working parent’s life,” Tew addressed the board. “Parents that work have kids in after school program because they do not have any other means ... If we did, our children wouldn’t be in after school programs.”
After Tew questioned the board on several topics, two other residents took the stage to express their concerns.
For more on the public out cry, see Sunday’s Sampson Independent.
Jessica Wagner can be contacted at 910-592-8137 ext.122 or reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org