Busing problems continue for the Churchill County School District with parents saying they are not happy with how the situation was handled or with the excuses.
A handful of parents vented on social media about their experiences with the school district after hundreds of students were left outside last week for more than an hour waiting for buses and some students were reported missing.
After last Monday’s bus situation, Superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon said eliminating the transfer situation at E. C. Best Elementary School and reconfiguring the traffic pattern at Lahontan Elementary School had fixed the issue.
“It usually takes two weeks after the start of school for things to start running smoothly and for students to remember their bus numbers,” she said.
Although Sheldon said the issue had been fixed, parents disagree and said their children are still subjected to the system’s flaws.
Lyon County School District Superintendent Wayne Workman said his district has 8,100 students and last week only one student from Silver Springs climbed on the wrong bus but was quickly found.
“It usually takes a day or two for things to go smoothly with the bus schedule,” he said. “Our bus drivers know their routes, they study them and do dry runs. I can’t say we have many issues at all.”
Fallon parent Rebecca Glinka said she has experienced the situation first hand. Glinka said she did a “dry run” with her seven-year-old child last week to see the bus system in action. She said she watched several rotations of buses come in, Waiting 35-40 minutes in the E. C. Best gym were seven students sitting in a line under their bus number. Glinka said she saw at least 45-50 students kick, punch, hit and scream at each other with three adults supervising.
“Nothing was fixed — the system was quick on how to hide it,” she said. “I have left a message with Dr. Sheldon, specifically on Monday (Aug. 17), to address what had happened and have not heard back from her office or her … we are very disappointed with how she has handled the situation and are very concerned with how the recent changes to the district are affecting kids, parents, teachers and staff.”
Glinka said she recognizes the system was given a budget, and the district had to find a way to make it work, but she’s not sure they actually thought about the children, families, teachers or staff when the district decided to implement the new system. Furthermore, Glinka said she believes Sheldon has not been that forthcoming when informing the parents and the media of the situation.
Sheldon said every parent who contacted the district has been noted and addressed. The CCSD superintendent said she has 45 notes from parents who have been returned with the day and time she returned them. She did say there is one parent she hasn’t been able to contact because the individual doesn’t have voicemail.
Another parent, Laurie Galindo, said elementary students still have to be on the bus for 90 minutes waiting for the middle-school students to be released from class.
“I would say it’s far from fixed,” she said.
Although the bus situation is the parents’ main concern, some parents said don’t understand why the elementary school students are deprived of 40 minutes of learning time.
“I want to know why Nevada already has the lowest ratings (depending on the survey) for schools, and we cut out 40 minutes of learning time,” said parent Andrea Hiibel. “This is supposed to be for ‘budget cuts,’ but how are they saving money when all the buses have to drive to all schools. Elementary needs to go back to 3 (p.m.). I don’t like my kids missing 40 minutes of learning time when in the long run the school district is spending more money running buses around.”
Sheldon said that the budget cuts have affected the schools this year. By law Sheldon said middle- and high-school students must attend more minutes per day than elementary students.
“In the teachers’ contracts. they’re required 40 minutes of prep time, and it used to be during art, music or P.E. (physical education) class,” she said. “Since the budget cuts took away those classes, we had to figure out where teachers could get prep time and after school worked better than having it in the morning and starting school later for elementary schools.”
SCHOOL BOARD MEETING
The CCSD school board of trustees is meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Churchill County Administration Office, Old High School, 690 South Maine Street. Items that will be discussed include the following:
For discussion and possible action: regarding sending automated calls before budget hearings.
For discussion and possible action: Report on bus schedules and bus drivers’ hours.
For discussion and possible action: The district’s general counsel, Sharla Hales, will update the board regarding some of the changes made by the 2015 legislature impacting school districts.