Thursday, February 19, 2009

Robbinsdale School District: Transportation

After attending my 5th grader's music concert, I am even more frustrated by the decision to reinstate cross district transportation for those who choose to leave their community schools to pursue "something better"... instead of working to make their community schools better...

This sounds like a strange reason to be frustrated, yet here is the rationale. The district is choosing to pay for "optional" bus transportation for the "particular folk" at the expense of the general student population. This will cost the RAS tax payers ~$500,000 per year and only benefit a small percentage of the students. (<20%)

Now, I remember there used to be music concerts for each grade, and even a 5th grade musical. Now there is only 2 concerts total in our school because general education can not afford a music teacher per elementary school. The ZLE music teacher is split between 3 schools or ~1400 kids....

Music of course is only one of the sacrifices the general education budget has made. Others include the loss of the kaleidoscope, focus and other gifted programs. Not to mention the loss of the elementary art teachers. If community schools are the district's vision, then let's make them special and important !!! Not pay for people to transfer out of them !!!

I am not sure how the transportation decision reversal got passed with little or no public discussion, however I think it should be reconsidered and overturned. Or at least these families should pay for the bus transportation on a sliding fee scale, and return the money to the "community" schools and students... or to the tax payers.... Please feel free to send an email to your board members if you agree.

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Christine said...

This was how it was explained last night:
The administration decided they wanted to reverse the board's decision to phase out middle school choice transportation for the application IB and pre-AP programs. Stan Mack said he called each board member individually on Feb. 2 to gain assurances that they would vote to do so. Parents were told at the middle school info night that there would be free "door to door" (i.e. no bus transfers) transportation indefinitely. The board voted to fund the bussing that same night, after parents had been told they would get it.
That's the short version, but this all stems out of RSI's desire to continue the middle school immersion program, because they were not satisfied with advanced Spanish being offered at both middle schools.

John said...

The district statement that this does not set us up for long term budget problems fascinates me. From my perspective we are likely spending several million dollars a year to propagate both the IB and AP programs, and to sustain the Spanish Immersion program.

Unfortunately none of these will help the at risk children, at risk schools or at risk communities. These dollars are spent purely to provide "differentiation" and District pride. Maybe Stan felt this was critical to his leaving a "legacy", and a lasting $375,000per yr bill...

I am unsure how the district is going to support community schools, while focused and spending on the special differentiating programs. I still think we need only one pre-college path. (AP or IB)