Judge Signs Order/Prevents Students from Riding Bus 4 hours a day
I don't have to tell the people or media who know me how much pleasure the information in this Order brings me. On March 16, 05, I sent out an email to all legislators, media, and numerous contacts across the state about the long bus rides before the HB1289 was passed which allowed the closing of isolated districts. An excerpt from it follows:
"At least 13 isolated schools could have kids riding 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours a day and at least 9 could have kids riding 3 hours a day if HB1289 passes Senate. HB1289 has already passed the house." I explained about the 15 to 20 minute transfer time from one bus to the other that this superintendent in this court case witnessed to that would automatically add 30 to 40 minutes a day when any school was closed plus the extra time on the bus from one school to the next one.
The media kept shortening the bus rides and even ridiculing those of us who talked about the long bus rides implying that we were exaggerating the length of the rides. I now have been justified. There are many schools in Arkansas that have long rides that are not considered isolated districts. I sent out another email in 2004 showing that 24 schools out of the 102 schools I contacted that if consolidated would have a minimum of 4 hours travel time.
Below are excerpts from the Court Order:
"The Bryant School District's current transportation plan involves running three bus routes in the Paron area, delivering the Paron students to Paron High School, and then dividing them onto two buses for the ride from Paron to the Brant schools. This plan will require a bus ride for Paron students of up to two hours each way, not counting the time it will take for the students to transfer from the Paron buses to the Bryant buses at Paron High School. Robert Smalley, the retiring Superintendent of the Alpena School District, who is familiar with this type of transportation plan, testified that the transition from the Paron buses to the Bryant buses could add about twenty minutes to the time it would take Paron students to reach Bryant High school and Bryant Middle School. There will be no buses provided to Paron students who wish to engage in after-school activities at the Bryant Schools."
"6. Plaintiffs presented evidence that the bus rides which will be required of them if Paron High School is closed would have a negative effect on their education and deprive them of an equal opportunity for an adequate education. They testified that the long bus rides will limit the ability of Paron students to fully participate in co-curricular and extra curricular activities of Bryant High School and Bryant Middle School. The distance between Paron and Bryant will also limit the ability of the parents of Paron students to support their children and become involved in the activities at Bryant High School and Bryant idle School. Also, students who spend up to four hours a day on a bus will have significantly less time to spend with their families, to do their homework, to hold after school jobs or to assist with the care of their siblings. There was no evidence that the time spent on the bus would be beneficial to the students. There was evidence, however, that the Paron students would be required to spend significant amounts of time riding in the dark on dangerous roads and that, in the winter time, they would see their houses in the daylight on weekends."
For rest of article, see first comment below
There is some more really interesting stuff in the Order, some of it about the ADE schemes and deception at this link.