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Barrow BOE Backtracks on Bus Route Changes — Why Were Parents Caught Off Guard?

With more media sources than ever in Barrow County ready to let the public know what is going on, one has to wonder why the public was caught off guard by the changes.

The new rules concerning bus routes in Barrow County proved to be harder to implement than had been thought by the Board of Education. Tuesday night’s meeting found the board room full with parents concerned about the safety of their children. Following a tense meeting, and go back to the older system.

With cuts being made in funding, hard decisions are necessary. We are accustomed to bus transportation for our little ones to assure their safety in being transported back and forth to school; we have learned to depend on the school system to provide the necessary bus transportation. At this time of the year, I always try to remind everyone to be careful as they are driving in the school zones, but now, we must be on high alert to be sure we do not miss seeing a child who might happen to be walking to school.

I am an outsider not being part of the discussions regarding the budget and the necessary cuts that have been made in this school year. From across the country we are hearing that during these tough economic times, there are cuts having to be made everywhere. , fewer teachers and coaches having to drive buses for sporting events have greeted parents and students as this new school year begins in Barrow. Is this the new normal in our school system? Are we to the point when changes come down from above that parents have no say as to how or when these changes will impact their children? I don’t know the answers to those questions. Will these changes impact the education of the students?

Unfunded mandates require standards be met as they are imposed on local school systems, it causes school system officials to find answers as to how to meet requirements with smaller amounts of funding available to carry on the school system. I do not envy the people having to make the decisions, but somehow there does seem to be a major disconnect in being able to communicate these changes to the parents in a timely manner in order for them to make the necessary changes in their schedules being sure their children make it to school on time and in a safe manner.

With more media sources than ever in Barrow County ready to let the public know what is going on, one has to wonder why the public was caught off guard by the changes. Was the information not given out in time? Did the media fail to report the changes? When were the decisions made to make all of the changes that are now coming to public light? I do not know the answer to any of these questions. From where I stand, the great need that has surfaced is to communicate all changes to all the stakeholders as soon as possible.

How should changes made by BOE be communicated to the public? Tell us in comments. 

Follow Ray Newman on Twitter — @RayNewmanSr.

Ray Newman August 14, 2012 at 10:03 AM
We will see how this day goes in the rain! Praying all will be safe. Slow down in school zones.
John August 14, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Why the kids having to stand up on the bus. My child was told he would have to stand up so that all the kids would ft on the bus.
Candy Primavera August 16, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Yesterday my sons bus didn't show up to pick him up in the morning; so one of the other parents took him to school along with all the other kids at the bus stop, which I was completely unaware of until I got home after work. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate one of the other parents stepping up when our school drops the ball; however, this type of situation could be dangerous.
Kate Charbonneau August 16, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I have to give credit where credit is due...not all of the kinks are ironed out yet and no, I'm not please with the new changes, BUT Wanda Young and the transportation department along with all of the teachers and administrators are working very diligently to make this as right as they can. I don't agree with how this was carried out, but as a parent I will take it as a hard lesson learned to make myself more aware of what is happening with our funding and what is going before the BOE. I think a strong parental presence at each and every BOE meeting is the only way to avoid things such as this from happening...I understand they are reaching for "Transparency" on the website, but not all parents know where to go. A system needs to be put into place notify parents of meetings and agendas. If we can get call blasts about everything that is happening in our schools, there is no reason why the BOE can't set up something similar. I don't want to "fight city hall" as the saying goes, and I don't want the BOE to be viewed as the "enemy"...we need to find a way to reach common ground. Thank you, Ray, for opening this discussion!
Ray Newman August 16, 2012 at 11:36 PM
From the comments and the way things are going it is certain that something needs to be done to improve the communication to the parents. Parents need to stay engaged with the BOE, by attending the meetings and staying aware of what is going on.

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