Request for Progress Update from OR Schools

This is in response to my original request for a copy of a report given 3 weeks ago (see emails at the end).
——————————————————————————–
From: Trina
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 9:00 AM
To: ‘Thomas Bailey’
Cc: ‘agle@bellsouth.net’; ‘donato60@gmail.com’; ‘jrichter@utk.edu’; ‘smithjrj@saic.com’; ‘wkfillauer@comcast.net’; ‘Karen Gagliano’; ‘Ken Green’
Subject: RE: Transportation Report

Dr. Bailey,

I attended and heard your 40 minute commentary that was a part of the special report in the agenda at the Jan 7th school board meeting, As I recall, you focused a lot of time discussing the city’s efforts and responsibilities. You also spent 15 minutes discussing the nuances and difficulties of recruiting and training bus drivers. My request for a copy of your special report was my effort to glean any potential facts that I may have missed with regards to the school’s progress on protecting our children en route to and from school.

1. If the school’s are currently understaffed for bus drivers and if, as you stated, the bus with the sign on the turnpike is the most effective recruiting tool you have, then why hasn’t that bus been out there in well over a month?

During the Jan 7th meeting, Ms Gagliano also gave a brief commentary on the fact that a committee was being formed to “discuss, evaluate options and develop a plan.” I have reviewed the upcoming agenda for Monday’s school board meeting and city council meeting. In it, I find Mr. Smith’s letter to city council requesting a member to serve on the same committee Ms. Gagliano referenced. Attached to that letter is a “Transportation Services Update/Change” which provides details on the additional bus in the Vanderbilt neighborhood. It goes on to itemize several city efforts and lists, essentially, 2 school action items – to form a committee and to focus on “several options.” In neither Mr. Smith’s communications nor the school board agenda packet is the nomination of the school board member for this committee referenced. I believe the formation of this committee began in November. There is also no item on the school board agenda related to the transportation issue.

2. What factors were considered when the decision to provide an additional route to the Vanderbilt area was made?

3. Why was this area chosen over the Hillside area when by all accounts from the city, it has substantially higher foot traffic?

4. When do you anticipate the finalization of the committee to occur?

5. When do you anticipate action to result from this committee?

6. What are the “several options” that the schools are looking into?

Your Budget Development Concepts FY’09 document (http://www.ortn.edu/downloads/budget_concepts09.pdf) contains the following: “The scope of transportation services will be further examined during the development of the FY’09 Budget…. In FY’09, a committee….will review transportation service options. Particularly, the committee’s goal will be to address safety needs of students crossing major intersections….”

7. Does this mean that you do not anticipate action from this committee until after April?

As you are aware, I have also requested updates from the city. They have reported on a number of actions, with the most significant area of progress being the formation of a crossing guard program (they are currently processing 11 applications). It is this type of information I seek from the schools – specific actions that have occurred and are planned to occur. Please correct me if I am wrong, but as of today, these are the only actions I understand to have occurred by the schools:

– An additional route in the Vanderbilt area has been added
– A committee is being formed (and has been since November 2007)
– The Safe Routes to School Grant is being pursued

While I appreciate the efforts of school staff, I (and many others) remain unclear on exactly what those efforts have been. Through various media publications and your own personal communications, you have acknowledged a “full” awareness of the dangers our kids face as far back as 17 months. You’ve even referenced your own efforts of standing at some of the most dangerous intersections during the previous school year. Given these facts, I am concerned over what appears to be a lack of urgency on the part of the schools and am trying to establish an understanding of just how much longer we can expect before change occurs.

7. Are you working towards providing additional transportation for walkzone children this school year or are you waiting until after FY09 budget approval to occur before doing so?

In the July 2007 meeting (http://www.ortn.edu/downloads/Special_Board_Meeting_72307.pdf)
when the addition of the routes for K-4 with .35 mile pick up was approved, Mr. DiGregorio inquired about the possibility of doing something similar to accommodate the children remaining in the walkzone. There was a lot of discussion to include: “Ms. Gagliano predicted that there would be a lot of backlash from people who have students being picked up door to door” and “The superintendent said it was something that could be looked at over the next year.”

8. Has this option been looked into by the schools?

9. If so, what were the results?

10. If not, when will it be?

From the BEP 2.0 Presentation prepared by Karen Gagliano, posted on the OR school website:
http://www.ortn.edu/downloads/BEP_Transportation_Options.pdf

Option 2 – $75,000 – Reinstate all K-4 Door to Door 6 add’l buses thru 2012 $636K
Option 1 – $50,000 – Reinstate Only K-2 Door to Door 4 add’l buses thru 2012 $424K
Option 3 – $25,000 – Reinstate all K-4 pick up at .35 miles 2 add’l buses thru 2012 $212K

Based on these calculations, operational costs, as well as additional bus costs, run at about a 1/3 of the cost of door-to-door service.

11. With such substantial cost savings, has any other option for full reinstatement of bus service surfaced that would prove more cost-efficient?

12. If requiring children as young as 5 years walk up to .35 miles was acceptable to the schools, then what is the obstacle preventing the you from asking the same of older students?

I respectfully request your acknowledgement of receipt of this communication and an anticipated time for which I can expect a response.

Regards,

Trina

—–Original Message—–
From: Thomas Bailey [mailto:TBailey@ortn.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 8:07 AM
Subject: Re: Transportation Report

Trina: Since I spoke from notes, I am trying to determine what format is best for web. I may wait for minutes of the minutes and post them. I will let you know as soon as I can. I am at a superindents workshop today. Hopefully, I should have something by the end of the week. Tom
—–Original Message—–
To: Thomas Bailey
Sent: Tue Jan 15 19:55:32 2008
Subject: RE: Transportation Report

Hi! I didn’t find this on the school web site. Has it been posted?
—–Original Message—–
From: Thomas Bailey [mailto:TBailey@ortn.edu]
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2008 3:27 PM
Subject: Re: Transportation Report

Trina: I am out of town but I had asked Mr. Green to put it on the web last
week before I left. I will be back in town Monday and see that you get a
copy. Tom

—–Original Message—–
To: Thomas Bailey; agle@bellsouth.net ; donato60@gmail.com ; jrichter@utk.edu smithjrj@saic.com ; wkfillauer@comcast.net ; Karen Gagliano; Ken Green
Sent: Sat Jan 12 15:00:59 2008
Subject: Transportation Report

Dr. Bailey,

Can you provide me with a copy of Monday night’s transportation report? I’m
looking for the information both you and Karen presented. Mr. Baker has
said that his will be posted on the RMS site shortly.

Thanks!

Trina

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