Response from Dr. Bailey

Dr. Bailey called me to discuss my questions below. He explained that his focus is on added police presence, crossing guards and bus drivers – he wants to allow the committee to focus on transportation.

While I didn’t expect such a quick response, Dr. Bailey did state he’d have to get back with me on some of my questions. He provided the following answers. You can read excerpts from our conversation below.

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?
They are not recruiting for additional bus drivers at this time. (Confirmed again during last night’s school board meeting. )

4. When do you anticipate the finalization of the committee to occur?
5. When do you anticipate action to result from this committee?
7. Does this mean that you do not anticipate action from this committee until after April?
Their first meeting is January 31st. Dr. Bailey doesn’t expect their recommendations to come before the end of March. He doesn’t anticipate the schools to take any action until May.

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? No. See above.

Quotes from Dr. Bailey
“It’s important to educate people because part of the confusion is that things change from minute to minute. Have to have subs and that number fluctuates – doesn’t know how many subs they have. They have volumes of things they report on so it will take time to get back to me with all of the answers.

Ended with him asking me who was on the committee because he thought I was on it – asked me if I had contacted the schools to express my interest – I told him that wasn’t how they explained it that the principals were tasked with identifying parents

There are 23 buses – Clifford was mistaken with the 24 number; there are actually 33 sitting on the lot with 2 to go out of commission this year – must have the extra buses for spares which must be available on 3 different levels in case one of the 23 goes out

Doesn’t expect a recommendation until mid-late March from the committee – Clifford knows everything and will be able to then work with the committee on choosing the best option – probably not likely that a conclusion will be reached until may

Does not want the school staff spinning their wheels on the issue until the committee comes back with their recommendations

Bus drivers – not advertising because they have a current 1-2 people in the applicant pool – doesn’t want to advertise unnecessarily – wants to focus on needs for this year. Went on to explain the problems they’ve had in hiring how one had a heart attack, one quit after first week of training, etc…..

He hopes the committee will look at the issue seriously and he’s sure they will – they would need to determine what the solutions would look like, how much it would cost and present the suggestions to Clifford. He hopes that they will focus on equal opportunity access, but it is very complicated……………………………

He hopes the committee will focus on 2 things – preventing children from crossing major intersections and providing equal opportunity to all children

“some kids walk past less desirable homes and if he were a parent he’d be quite concerned”

“Don’t mis-quote me, but everything boils down to money – must have the funds first”

A Pennsylvanian school visited to discuss their new high school and get a reference for the contractor – Dr. Bailey noticed they didn’t have a bus look and was shocked to find that they have never provided transportation.

He stressed that compromises would have to be made

Have to be realistic about the sales tax issue and look at what services we want to provide and what services we want to cut.”

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