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School board agrees to look at Tubman transportation

Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 9:50 PM
Last updated 9:56 PM
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Making no promises they will approve a plan, the Richmond County Board of Education agreed Tuesday to start looking into the cost and feasibility of providing transportation to students attending the alternative program.

No buses currently run to the alternative school located off Baker Avenue downtown, and parents say many students, especially those living in south Augusta, are missing school entirely because they have no way of getting there.

“My son hasn’t been to school in two weeks, now going on three,” said Paula Sanders, who lives off Windsor Spring Road. “I lost my car in an accident. I can’t get him downtown, and he needs to be in school so it’s very stressful.”

Representatives from juvenile court asked the board on Tuesday to consider paying for buses because it could significantly impact the success of their effort to diminish juvenile crime in Augusta.

The court received a $250,000 state grant this summer that will pay for three therapists to do home therapy with about 20 at-risk youth and their families. Juvenile Court Judge Pamela James Doumar said the majority of these students will be attending the alternative program, and the children cannot be rehabilitated if they are not in school.

She said it costs the county $90,000 a year to detain one child, and helping them before they fall into delinquency could change their lives and save tax payers money.

“Education is their only hope,” Doumar said. “It is the only way they’re going to get out of this cycle, and we don’t want to deny in any way an education for these kids.”

With Jimmy Atkins casting the only no vote, the board directed Deputy Superintendent Tim Spivey to find out how much it would cost to run one or two buses to and from the alternative school.

Because students come from across the district and enter at varying times throughout the school year, Spivey said the initial plan would be to set up five or six depot stops throughout the district, instead of door-to-door pick up.

Students would have to find a way to various community centers, where a bus would then take them to the alternative school. Doumar said for a student living in south Augusta with no transportation, that would cut a 25-mile journey to school down to maybe a five-mile trek to the community center stop.

Doumar also said Department of Juvenile Justice staff will also meet students at the community centers before and after school and ride with them on the buses.

Spivey said he will present his findings at the next board meeting Jan. 14. If the board votes to pay for buses, the program would begin at the end of January.

Atkins said he voted against even exploring possibilities because any option would be too costly.

“The bottom line is it’s going to cost the system money to provide this service, and it’s something we just don’t have right now,” he said. “I don’t see supporting it next month.”

When the board last discussed providing buses for the alternative program in March, the idea was tossed before all could vote. Besides the money issue, board members said transportation is a privilege that is lost when a student is suspended and assigned to the alternative school.

Sherry Bradshaw said although the board is considering the idea, she was disappointed members didn’t take a stronger stance in supporting transportation. Without a car to drive her son to school, Bradshaw said she worries about his safety because he crosses Walton Way on his bike in the dark every morning.

She said the students are already stigmatized when they are assigned to the alternative school, and although they’ve made mistakes, she said the children need help.

“These kids haven’t killed nobody,” she said. “Why do they treat them like they have?”

IN OTHER BUSINESS

• The board named C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School Principal Renee Kelly to be principal at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School. Davidson Assistant Principal Aletha Snowberger was named principal of C.T. Walker. Glenn Hills High School teacher Melissa Clark was named Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Assistant Principal at A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet and Hephzibah High schools.

• The board voted to keep board of education elections in November, even after a change in state law moved non-partisan local elections to the summer. Board attorney Pete Fletcher said because the district’s charter predates the Georgia Constitution, it allows the board to keep elections in November.

• The Transportation Department recognized 13 employees who have served 25 or more years: director Jimmie Wiley; mechanics Ronnie Dedman, Richard Waters, Eric Bing and Ronald Johnson; drivers Edna Johnson, Angela Stroud, Helen Willis, Glen Palmer, Janice Turner and Marcia Turner; and monitors/attendants Billie Scott and Annette Borum.

Comments (10)

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willie7
830
Points
willie7 12/10/13 - 11:31 pm
0
0

Mrs. Sanders, have you asked

Unpublished

Mrs. Sanders, have you asked your church to help you with transporting your son to school>? Or the ministries who spending their time endorsing political candidates"

seenitB4
73219
Points
seenitB4 12/11/13 - 07:54 am
3
1

A suggestion

A small bus pick up on Lumpkin Rd would help the southside...jmo.

Little Lamb
40303
Points
Little Lamb 12/11/13 - 09:14 am
3
0

Door To Door

If they would institute depot pickup throughout the entire county they could save mucho dinero on transportation costs. I see these school buses driving throughout the subdivisions in West Augusta, and it is inefficient as all getout. The wear and tear on the brake system, the gasoline wasted in idling and acceleration, the doubling back after going down cul de sacs, and on and on.

They should initiate a system of designated bus stops. All students within a one-mile radius would then be expected to walk to those bus stops for pick up. If you are not there when the buses arrive, tough luck.

Little Lamb
40303
Points
Little Lamb 12/11/13 - 09:20 am
5
0

Expulsion

Let us remember that the students attending the alternative school are doing so as a privilege. The tribunals have sentenced those students to out-of-school suspension or expulsion for violating school rules deemed exceedingly dangerous or for violating state law.

The lenient and generous school system then offers attending the alternative school as an option. Jimmy Atkins, Helen Minchew and other board trustees have mentioned in the past that a family choosing the option to attend alternative school knows that providing transportation is part of the deal.

No transportation is part of the punishment for violating school rules and/or the law.

seenitB4
73219
Points
seenitB4 12/11/13 - 09:26 am
3
1

I understand all of that LLamb

BUT...once again the southside is at a disadvantage....sure, the punishment fits the crime but sitting at home day after day creates trouble makers...put their tails in school....some small bus pickups at south Augusta would help....just saying...I just read today that a 6 year ole is in trouble for kissing another on the face...6 year ole...a baby for goodness sake..what have we created in this world....kids can't be kids anymore.

Pops
4539
Points
Pops 12/11/13 - 09:29 am
4
0

Why not provide buses......

Don't stop there.....let's feed them on the bus.....going and coming....anything the Board can do to reward their bad behavior that landed them in the alternative school to begin with.

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 12/11/13 - 10:17 am
1
0

Get a federal grant and send a teacher to their home. Y not.....

Unpublished

Get a federal grant and send a teacher to their home. Y not.....

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 12/11/13 - 10:18 am
1
0

Give a 12 year certificate of attendance & an EBT Card. The End

Unpublished

Give a 12 year certificate of attendance & an EBT Card. The End

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 12/11/13 - 10:19 am
1
0

Satan is the author of confusion. Socialism is his vehicle.

Unpublished

Satan is the author of confusion. Socialism is his vehicle.

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 12/11/13 - 10:21 am
1
0

CUBA has it right. Put them in the cane fields. Viva CUBA.

Unpublished

Viva the Communist Revolution. All are equal. All have nothing.

movingforward
40
Points
movingforward 12/11/13 - 12:56 pm
2
0

Re writing policy

The district wrote the policy as a deterrent for student to behave appropriately in school. Because DJJ has a grant to address the transportation issue currently what happens when the funds are no longer available will the district pick up the tab past the grant period? These are students with significant social emotional issues. I understand the transportation issue however students are sent to the alternative school on a weekly basis how will the bus drivers and district keep up with all these students? Why will DJJ staff man the community centers?Will DJJ staff ride the bus to decrease the possibility of suspension from the bus? What happens when the student refuse to ride the bus? ?

Sweet son
8295
Points
Sweet son 12/11/13 - 02:02 pm
4
1

No! Most of these students are children of irresponsible

parenting! You will find no sympathy here for parents who have to go out of their way to take care of their children who were not taught to obey rules and try to make something out of themselves.

They, not the taxpayers, should have to pay for their mistakes and the mistakes of their offspring.

nocnoc
31219
Points
nocnoc 12/11/13 - 07:14 pm
4
0

The quoted $90K is poppycock

Maybe if that student was run through the courts etc.... locked up in YDC and taught there it might cost $90K.

Otherwise in ARC the RCBOE according to
US Dept of Education figures shows RCBOE spends:
http://app.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fin_pack_revenue.entry_form

Select Richmond County and the exp or Rev. figured wanted.

It is $8,487.99 on average for Richmond County Student

But I think every one is missing the BIGGER point.

RCBOE has a defined pot of $$$$ to spend.
If they have to fund "special" transportation for these less than MURDERS, but still far from behaving students aka BRATS.
The cost of a dozen Mini-Buses or Vans to haul their misbehaving tails to school from all parts of the County to 1 location down
town is going to require a TAX INCREASE to those of us that do
pay taxes.

Some quick figures the RCBOE are faced with:

About 10 Special mini Buses are needed to get them to school at the same time with some starting around 5am. $750K

GAS for 10 Special mini Buses $200 per week per bus x 10 x 26+ weeks $200K p/school yr

12 Special Mini Bus drivers with a Pepper Spray allowance plus RCBOE benefits $24k base Salary plus extras about $30K each x 12 = $360K per year

Maintenance, Repairs & parts for 10 Special Buses $200+k p/yr

But the RCBOE budget is finite, so us the TAXPAYERS, in the form of a TAX increases, would have to come up with another $1.3+ Million each year.

Some would say,
just make the Parents pay the difference between the RCBOE allotted $318.00 per student for Transportation and the added cost for these "SPECIAL" children. But since some of the cited distances are McBean and Blythe (30 miles) for 1 or 2 kids, it would be Cost Prohibitive @ $1 to $2 a mile each way every day.

Then as the kids are allowed back in "NORMAL" school the pickup and drop off routes Could change DAILY. Anyone want to read about some kid that was left downtown, with no ride, that went missing and the parents yes 2 all of a sudden, lawsuits?

Besides too many of these "SPECIAL" Children are from families that are on public assistance and the extra kindhearted Downtown focused RCBOE members would just wave the transportation fees to most of the riders dumping the costs on the TAXPAYER AGAIN.

One viable solution is to add another SPECIAL CHILD School further out in the County. US-25 Lumpkin Rd. Old Augusta Tech buildings, but the estimated cost would be in the $Million range to start it up before it paid off in lower any costs.

No The Most Simple Solution Is
Have the parents also understand up front, it is their problem when their BRATS fail to behave in class, or on School Grounds, not the taxpayers. Maybe a few will start pinning their BRATS ears back when it becomes their pain in the BUTTOCK and not the Taxpayers.

But no matter how you slice it, giving these misbehaving brats a free ride all because their part-time mama's are whining, or will be inconvenienced by having be responsible for their youngins, is not an affordable solution for the RCBOE or the concern of the ARC Taxpayers.

ANOTHER POSSIBLE SOLUTION
A BRAT CLASS at each school after a suspension period with stricter rules. The stigma of being such a class should deter some Bad Behavior.

A line must be drawn for the Good of those that do behave and show it every day in school that they want an education.

BUT I AM AGAINST SUBSIDIZING MISBEHAVIOR.

Tots
25530
Points
Tots 12/11/13 - 08:26 pm
0
0

Congratulations,

To all the senior employees good job... Big shoot out to my sister Angela,way to go ..

lifelongresident
1311
Points
lifelongresident 01/02/14 - 11:15 am
0
0

ms. sanders is now upset "dat

Unpublished

ms. sanders is now upset "dat de gubiment ain't not got no ride fo mah child to get to da alternetib skuul" well ms. sanders if you would have been more of a responsible parent then you child would have still been going to his assigned school with free transportation. alternative school is just that!!! an alternative to regular school for children who break the rules and need to be removed from the regular classroom setting. it is unfortunate you lost your car due to an accident but i am sure you have no problem getting around when you want to go some where (shopping, visiting family/friends, or "to da club") but when it comes to school for your bad azz child then you "wont da gubiment to make sho you child gets to da school" well ms sanders you need to use your smarts to find a way because it is not the responsibility of the taxpayers to see that your child get to the "kuncklehead"....oooops i mean the alternative school..that job is yours..perhaps you can use some of your EBT to pay for a cab, of better yet why not call "yo man" to "hep" you out (since there is no mention of his daddy)

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