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Old 12-11-2012, 05:11 PM   #1
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CASMama711
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Formerly: chmom77
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,195
Problems with the school bus... and I blame the taxpayers for this one!

Background info- We live in one of the wealthiest counties in the US (a bedroom community for DC), within the top 10 counties in the entire country according to the latest list. We have a good public school system, but not as great as it should be considering the population and resources. My DD1 attends kindergarten at our neighborhood school and I work as an educational diagnostician at two other schools in the county. The school staff is grossly underpaid, across the board. If I worked one county away (in a county with LESS per capita income than ours), I would make $12,000/year more than I do here. There have been recent newspaper articles addressing the poor teacher pay as well as the poor bus driver pay that had lead to a bus driver shortage in the county. This area has an extremely high cost of living and no one can afford to work for low wages here. Considering the amount of wealth in the county, there's just no excuse for this. IMO, it boils down to selfish taxpayers who want to use the public education system, but not pay for it (and yes, most of the taxpayers here are using the public schools. This is a family-friendly bedroom community with very few, small private schools.)

This morning, (while I was at work) our nanny had my DD1 at the bus stop as usual. Over 20 K-5 students get on the bus at our stop every morning. The bus pulled up today with kids already sitting 3 in each seat, hanging out of the windows, and screaming. It has never looked like that before. The older kids at our bus stop (whose parents weren't there) got on the bus and had to sit on the floor in the aisle. The bus driver explained that, because of the driver shortage, she had to pick up 3 extra bus stops on her run today.

Our nanny does not have car seats for our kids because she's never been expected to drive them anywhere. A friend/neighbor who also has a kindergartener decided that the bus wasn't safe, so she would drive her DD to school. She offered to take our DD1 in her car and our nanny agreed that would be safer than the bus, even without a booster or car seat. This is a neighbor who I trust with my DD1 and our nanny already knew that. My DD1 had never been in a car without a booster or car seat before this morning, but in that situation, I have to agree it was the safer of the options. We live 2 blocks from the school and the speed limit is 25 mph the whole way there. Regardless, I'm upset that this happened.

I don't blame the nanny or our neighbor, or even the bus driver... I blame the school system and the tax payers for creating an unsafe situation for no reason other than pure greed. The transportation office will be getting a phone call from me tomorrow, but, honestly, I think this problem runs even deeper than that. How do you change a culture that disregards the value of investing in our children???
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