53°Rain

Morning Poll: Buses or Teachers?

by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am 5,317 209 Comments

According to Arlington Public Schools officials, the school system faced a choice: buy more buses and hire more bus drivers — at $190,000 per bus — or invest the money in education and more teachers.

APS chose the latter, and now faces a growing protest from parents whose children are no longer able to take the bus to school due to new busing policies. Many parents affected by the new policies have said that forcing their children to walk 1 to 1.5 miles to school, often across busy roads, puts their safety at risk.

If you had to choose one, assuming a finite school budget, would you invest in a few extra buses or, as the school system ended up doing, spend the money saved on education instead?

Flickr pool photo by Afagan

  • Lloyd

    Both

    • Quoth the Raven

      Yeah, why is there such a choice at all, rather than something like “Teachers and buses OR Artisphere” or whatever.

      • BoredHouseWife

        all this art sphere hate.

        • Quoth the Raven

          Not hate – just an example, that’s all.

      • C

        APS budget is separate from the county budget.

        • Westover

          Are you saying the school system requested more money in their annual budget to add the necessary buses but the county rejected it?

          • F

            nope– APS did not request more funds for buses– just cut funding internally and diverted it to other APS spending

    • resident and teacher

      Agreed. this shouldn’t be an either/or. We could cut a dozen jobs at the Ed Center without batting an eye. This is our greatest area of waste and greatest opportunity for cost savings. Even though many things have been automated and outsourced, the staff there keeps growing.

      • PattiS

        Oh my, is this true? Did you just make this up or is it documented? We learned the opposite at our PTA meeting, and that there are a few positions that have not been filled since 2009. Can you provide any links?

    • TourGuide

      Why not give the bus drivers a lesson script and have them teach the kids something while the drive them around town ? Like that fump truck driver in Die Hard that knew all that presidential history.

    • nunya

      yes. split the cost.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      They phrased this wrong–it’s “more buses” or “smaller class sizes” (which = more teachers). The same people who went nuts when they wanted to increase class sizes are probably now the ones now complaining that they are not increasing the number of buses. Well, it’s one or the other….there is a finite budget and it cost millions to add enough teachers for all the additional kids this fall without increasing class size. I’m sure APS would be glad to have fewer teachers/trailers/additions and more buses.

      PS The details were communicated way too late in the game, although the study and planning were sound.

      • Kathy Stokes

        How about a few buses instead of a million dollar makeover of a ball park?

      • Cbone

        The planning and study were not sound. The 2011 study did not say there was an overcrowding problem. It singled that out.

  • CrystalMikey

    Teachers. No question.

  • ArLater

    I have a feeling this poll should have an option of “Both, cut funding to Artisphere and Streetcar”

    If I had to guess, I think that would win…

    • SomeGuy

      I would also add “Neither, these spoiled brats have more than enough of everything as it is. Lower my taxes.”

      • Kevin Diffily

        You have some of the lowest taxes in the region.

        • John Fontain

          LOL, not that one again!

        • SomeGuy

          What’s your point?

          I’ll assume you’re trying to say that “good” is good enough and therefore we shouldn’t try to improve. But even if I’d agree with your premise that we’re “good,” I wouldn’t agree that we can’t get better.

    • Tom

      Maybe the County could use the money they were going to spend on the new homeless shelter in Court House to fund these projects.

      • ArLater

        Truth, homeless shelter should def be thrown in there as well.

  • Greg

    I’m not even sure the County is to the point that this question can be asked. From reading on here and other places, it seems to me that the County doesn’t fully understand its busing needs and threw this at parents two weeks before school just to do something.

    Statements that the County won’t refuse to let a kid on a bus that doesn’t have a voucher (initially) make me wonder whether there really would be enough space on the buses if some more minor tweaks were made, but that the County just ran out of time.

    This really is an issue that should have been anticipated long ago and addressed. That could mean requesting more money from the County. $200k is not a lot of cash around here.

  • Jacob

    The marginal value of another teacher is very low. Class size is irrelevant to outcomes.

    • Hollywood

      I agree and would expand this statement to include all spending on education.

      Despite the dramatic increase in spending over the last 40 years, there has been no notable change in student outcomes.

    • resident and teacher

      If N is the number of teachers, and N teachers produce a certain outcome, and N-1 teachers has the same outcome, then by induction it is clear that we can get rid of all teachers…
      Similarly, if N students in a class has the same average outcome as N+1 students, then we should simply have infinite class sizes.

      Or maybe logic doesn’t apply when Jacob (or Dr. Murphy) tell us that these things don’t matter.
      Someone with classroom teaching experience (unlike Murphy) know that more teachers and smaller classes are important for a quality education.

      • Hollywood

        Yeah that’s a great way to approach the problem. You sir are clearly the beneficiary of a quality education.

        We have tried spending more money and putting more teachers in classrooms for more than a generation, with no observable improvements to anything except the schools’ bottom lines. Why? Because of the lack of competition in the K–12 education system. Schooling in the United States is still based largely on residency; students remain tied to the neighborhood school regardless of how bad its performance may be. Federal spending on education (which amounted to 8.3 percent of total public education spending in 2007) is funneled to students through the institutions to which they are tied, largely regardless of student performance. With no need to convince students and parents to stay, schools in most districts lack the incentive to serve student needs or differentiate their product. To make matters worse, this lack of competition continues at the school level, where teacher hiring and firing decisions are stubbornly divorced from student performance, tied instead to funding levels and tenure.

        http://reason.com/archives/2011/02/22/losing-the-brains-race

      • Thes

        Science shows class size doesn’t matter. Increased instructional time, does, however. So if more teachers = longer class days for students (perhaps preserving things like arts and music education) then I’m for it. But if more teachers only = smaller classes (that also require more expensive physical infrastructure), then I’m not so much for it.

        • Not an apoligist

          “Science shows class size doesn’t matter. Increased instructional time, does, however.”

          Does this apply to college drop-outs? That is, a college drop out with less instructional time is at a disadvantage compared without some who stuck it out in college?

      • NoVapologist

        Spoken like a true acolyte of a teachers union.

      • Carol_R

        Not really. You don’t need smaller classes. They’re too small already in my opinion. If you have class disapline and students pay attention and do their homework you can double the class size. Class sizes in colleges are typically large and kids still learn.

      • PattiS

        If N-1 produces the same outcomes, but the teachers burn out in 3 years and leave the profession, it is actually more expensive and the outcomes will decrease. Your simplistic notion also overlooks several important things: a. What, exactly, is being measured? (A single test score, attendance, graduation rates, post-secondary enrollment?); b. Students’ attitudes toward school (for which there is a strong correlation with they way they report their relationship with teachers); c. Changes in the curriculum to meet artificial metrics, but actually have a negative impact on students overall learning.

  • Brian

    Very good poll – but please note that this is due to Governor McDonnell “balancing” the state budget through cutting funding for cities and counties. This is happening with our schools, our roads, paying firefighters and police officers, and many other places. But will he get the blame and get called out on it?

    • Rick

      The county budget goes up every year. Thus, the school board budget goes up every year. How is this the governors fault?

    • Josh

      lol at Brian’s comment. This is due to county governments who spend money on unnecessary projects such as Artisphere, streetcars, lawsuits against the state, and various other things. This is due to county governments who in good times when revenues flow, hike up spending and increase the size of government, rather than smartly saving it to address unexpected future challenges such as the spike in the Arlington public school population.

      I wonder how many people complaining about this issue have been continuing to vote in the same set of fiscally irresponsible government leaders year after year.

      • South Awwlington

        So you think we should spend 25k a year/student on education? Is there no limit? Should all County programs be defunded and we turn over every dime to APS?

        • Lloyd

          So you think we should eliminate all buses and make kids find their own way to get to school, just so the the county can build two more Artispheres?

          Sorry, just keeping up the example of pulling ideas out of my rear end and attributing them to the person posting before me.

          • Just Stats

            then your comment is even more useless than his.

          • Ed

            That’s like saying there is a difference between zero and nothing.

      • southarlington

        Of course they keep voting the people in there because they are not wise or care ehough to reserach the other candidtes and they vote for the person with a ” D” by it’s name . This would have been a lot different if people who say they like someone that does not have a ” D” by there name would have voted for them at election time ….. I know if I like someone and want a change I will not vote for a ” D” person if they are not doing a good job or listening to their electorate .

        • Rick

          You know if we could just get one democrat on that board we could really start to change things around here…

          • southarlington

            Do you mean get ” one democrat off the board ” ?

          • Rick

            It was a joke…

      • bobbytiger

        BINGO !

      • Devon

        Josh is right on with his comment. We need some new government leaders with realistic, needed ideas that benefit ALL of Arlington’s residents rather than the “Artisphere few.” Please spend OUR money on solid basics like schools and transport and roads!

  • dk
  • Katharine

    If the kids can’t get to school, it doesn’t really matter how good the teachers at the school are…..

    • donna

      On the flip side:

      If the students get get to school and are in a class with 29 other students and one teacher…

      The schools are busting at the seams with students, firing teachers has bad news written all over it.

    • John Fontain

      Kids can’t get to school? Are you serious? They can’t walk by themselves? With their parents? With a group of friends? Be driven by their parents? Or carpool driven by a rotating group of parents? Ride their bikes? None of this is now possible?

      • SomeGuy

        I agree with you, John.

        Although I’m a little surprised to see you’re supporting bike riding without stipulating your narrow list of acceptable bike riding attire.

        • John Fontain

          LOL. Well now that you bring it up…

  • Sherriff Gonna Getcha

    Well based on 103 votes, it looks pretty clear APS made the right decision.

    It is also clear they did a terrible job at communicating this change to parents. This is something that should have been announced in June/July so parents had time to adapt.

    • Lloyd

      Did they really do “the other option” though? Was the decision not to add buses really precipitated by extra hiring or raises for teachers? Or was the “we want to focus on teachers not buses” comment just a poor bit of PR, a hastily formed thought that slipped out, by someone at APS.

      • Parent

        Bingo!

        It was APS’ obvious attempt to deflect attention from their terrible decision-making by stating a false dichotomy.

      • Epic Fail

        Yes, APS still doesn’t seem to understand the consultant report that they paid for. The assessment found that system-wide average capacity utilization was 15 to 35% underutilzed, resulting in less crowded buses on average than expected. APS needs to focus on improving its management of Transportation Services and usage of existing software tools before just reducing the level of service. Sounds like APS needs some new blood and fresh eyes to figure out how to run the system.

  • ArlingtonParent

    From what I understand, the transportation consultant found that the whole issue could be solved by adjusting school start times by 10 minutes.

    • NoVapologist

      But then you would get 400 comments from parents whining about how this change has ruinously impacted Mom and Dad’s commuting schedule, not to mention the devastating effects on Ian’s and Madison’s circadian rhythms.

      • John Fontain

        + 10!

      • Insert Trendy Name

        You forgot Cody.

    • Meg

      That is true. I worked in Fairfax county for a while and their school start times are spread over a larger span of time just for this reason. If that’s the issue, why not adjust the start times? Yes, I read the other comments, but most of us are concerned about SAFETY issues, not the precise timing of the bus.

  • Hollywood

    Neither?

  • S. Arlington Resident

    Too many parents forget how our parents/grandparents walked to school in the freezing rain, up hill, both ways.

    We have one of the best school systems in the country and yet people insist on finding something to complain about. Grow up. Stop depending on others to make life easier. Take some responsibility and make it work.

    • Cakes

      Agreed. Christ, people like to complain rather than problem solve.

    • CrystalMikey

      Well said!

    • John Fontain

      + A bunch. In my hood, most families actually like to walk to school because it’s like a morning social gathering. You walk, run into your neighbors, chat with them while you walk. Stuff like that.

      It builds a strong, tight-knit community.

      Or you can throw you kid on the bus so you can hurry off to Starbucks and not have to interact with your neighbors.

      • Josh S

        You, sir, are a pompous *ss.

        • dll

          You don’t get to call anyone that, Joshie. Your posts are an encyclopedia of condescension.

      • MommyDearest

        This poll was a waste of space. It doesn’t help solve anything,and is just a new forum for bringing up the same stuff over and over again.

        But I have a real question… why is it that more than a few people seem to think that none of us interact socially with our neighbors? I love my neighbors. we happen to be having a big party tomorrow, in fact. Something we do fairly regularly. And, yes, we have been impacted by the bus route changes for our high schoolers, but I don’t think the topic will even come up at the party, except perhaps for the rising 9th graders to ask the older kids which route they think is best, as most of them used to choose to walk home anyway, because the bus can take a long time and be a haven for social interactions you simply aren’t interested in after a long school day.

        And for the record, the ONLY time I have ever been to a Starbucks in Arlington is when I have – get this – WALKED with one of my neighbors. And it’s about a 1.5 mile walk. And we talked along the way. And we didn’t worry about “keeping up with the Jones”. So please, if you don’t like your own neighborhood, don’t assume the rest of us don’t either. A good neighborhood is essential in this day and age. You are welcome to move to ours. We will welcome you and invite you to our next party.

    • Greg

      You earn a right to complain when you pay an exorbitant amount in taxes and your county still can’t drive kids to school. Tell me how schools in bumphuck Kansas, with students spread over 20 miles with property values 1/6 of what they are here, are able to provide busses for their kids but Arlington County cannot? “Grow up and stop complaining” is exactly the type of attitude APS and any other public official who screws up is hoping for.

      Just because we have it good doesn’t mean we didn’t pay for better. If you went to Komi and dropped $600 for you and your wife, and they just served food from the Greek Taverna in McLean (which is still delicious), am I justified in saying you should grow up and stop complaining because I ate McDonald’s tonight? No, because you didn’t get what you paid for.

      • BoredHouseWife

        because busing kids within the mile or 1.5 mile is a waste of resources?

      • S. Arlington Resident

        I’m a proud parent of an Arlington County student who will adjust my work schedule to comply with the County. There are bigger problems in the world than this. You obviously think you are more entitled because you don’t live in ‘bumphuck Kansas’. So yes; grow up.

        You are able to find time to argue this point at work. I suggest using your time more wisely and take/pick-up your kid rather than complain about non-issues during the work day.

        • Greg

          I figured you would use the word “entitled.” I pay taxes and what I’m entitled to is an opinion. I shared that opinion, but here you are telling me what to do.

          On the hand, you take the high road by telling me to be thankful for what I have. On the other hand, you take the low road and resort to treating me in a disrespectful manner.

          I don’t have kids so don’t worry about me picking them up. I’m just a citizen who is concerned for the safety of children.

          How I choose to spend my time at work is none of your business, either. And let me remind you that you’re also having this conversation.

          Not everyone can adjust their work schedule. Not sure what your “adjustment to work schedule” is, but if someone working for me told me they had to leave at 3 every day of the week to pick up their children, I would tell them that they need to find alternative arrangements or seek employment elsewhere. The fact you can adjust yours is a luxury many don’t have.

          • S. Arlington Resident

            You are a citizen entitled to free speech. If you were a parent, you would know about APS programs (e.g. extended day) to accomodate working parents. Your ‘opinion’ holds little weight when you are ignorant to the facts.

          • TBTom

            +100!!

          • Greg

            You assume that since I don’t have kids that I don’t know people with kids in Arlington and I haven’t discussed this with them and I haven’t researched this topic?

            The Deadline to register for Extended Day was August 1st, which has passed and was before the County notified parents of this change in bus schedules.

            I’m glad after school programs are available and I hope you use them for your child. That’s less time to spend around you potentially learning bad habits you have exhibited in this thread (name-calling, making uninformed sweeping assumptions about other people, being disrespectful toward people).

          • What?

            Looks like you hit a nerve S. Arl Res. Where does the author call anyone names, Greg? They were simply suggesting a reality check on REAL issues.

          • S. Arlington Resident

            lol! I was thinking the same thing. No longer worth my time. We know he can Google!

          • Greg

            Entitled. Sorry if I used the phrase name-calling instead of insulting. Nice attempt to dismiss an otherwise factual response.

            I do know how to use Google. You should try it before suggesting solutions which aren’t feasible.

            And I didn’t need to Google it because my neighbor had already told me.

            No nerve struck, either. But if you want to pat yourself on the back for striking a nerve, whatever brightens your day.

          • Yorktown

            For what it’s worth, Greg, and a couple of days late, I’m with you and I am a parent — hardly living the high life either. My concern is for safety — and in our case distance is involved. My son’s hike would come to an hour and 15 minutes, easily, in good weather. In ice and show who knows? One way … Naturally, we’re not doing this because it’s unrealistic and untenable as a twice a proposition. So we have come up with plan A but that doesn’t mean I’m not raising hell about it. Don’t Tread on Me, indeed, big old time patriots!

            The Superintendent and his Staff have created these fake choices and foisted this chaos on the community on the eve of yet another heated Presidential election, and Murphy must have known that this plan would pit people against each other … One sees the hatred here for the stereotype of the Berkeley East Arlingtonian — granola crunching, Starbucks sipping, Volvo driving brats. Really? It’s so childish — and inaccurate — but it takes people’s eyes off the ball and away from the real issue — which is one of public safety — and naturally this makes it all the easier to shove this deranged plan down our throats.

            It’s also appalling and disgusting to see children and young people spoken about in the way some of commenters have. This kind of talk is generally a sign of a derangement syndrome. And let’s not even start with all the worthies claiming that they walked 5 miles in the snow barefoot back in the day and loved every moment of it.

    • formerbristow

      Well said. Walked myself a modest 1 mile each way for years in elementary school. Now its boo hoo half a mile it might be cold out…

    • buses or teachers

      I think parents have the right to be upset. Let’s face the facts, many families have paid a hell of a lot of money to live here. They bought their homes with certain expectations, good schools, short commutes, good infrastructure. If all of the sudden those exceptions are not being met, they have every right to be upset.

      I don’t have children, so I don’t have a dog in the race. All I can say is that the world is not the same place it was when our “grandparents walked to school 3 miles in the freezing rain.” Arlington county, and the rest of the world has changed drastically. I would not want my kid walking to school on or across busy streets in Arlington during rush hour. Adults get hit by cars all of the time, remember that poor girl on the sidewalk walking her dog a few years back. How much do you think the county is going to have pony up if that happened to a child or a group of children walking up Lee Highway on their way to school.

      I bet there’s enough “fat” within the school system that can be trimmed to pay for both new teachers and buses. I know there’s more than enough in the county budget.

      • NoVapologist

        So “adults get hit by cars all the time” but your only example is from “a few years back?”

      • Loocy

        I’m pretty sure that I got at least 6 APS school talk memos last year about girls being harrassed or molested on their way home from school, just in my neighborhood schools! Yes, times have changed. I grew up in Arlington. People drove differently thirty years ago. They were slower and more polite. Even so, I knew a few people who were hit by cars or harrassed by molesters even then. The traffic, and the creeps, are far worse now.

        Truth is, most people who no longer have access to bus transportation will start driving their kids to school. What that means is that the neighborhoods around schools will be choked with cars every morning, even more so than now. Hundreds of cars will be idling as they inch toward the schools, filling the air with smog. This is already a huge problem around many schools, and it is going to get much worse. Williamsburg Middle School already has a huge problem with traffic in the morning; what happens when the number of cars descending on it in the morning doubles or triples? Better yet, what about the situation when a brand new elementary school is built next to Williamsburg for 900 more students, many of whom will also be driven to school?

        There is a community good here in encouraging kids to ride the bus, and not depend on mom and dad to give them rides. With the kind of taxes we pay, the level of funding for our schools, and the kind of traffic we have in this area, yes, I think we should be doing more to get kids ON the bus, not discourage it.

  • Not Me

    Why in the name of God does a school bus cost 190K??? Seriously?

    That is obscene.

    • Not Me

      5 Minute GOOGLE Search:
      http://www.midwesttransit.com/Bus-Search_moreinfo.asp?i=K45223
      Here’s your bus for $69,800. YOUR WELCOME.

      Signed,
      Arlington TAXPAYER.

      • Not Me

        *YOU’RE

        PS. YES I’M KEEPING THE CAPS CAUSE I’M MAD.

        • Hollywood

          Whoa whoa whoa! Is it GREEN???????????????/ lol

      • malaka

        dos it drive itself? change it’s own oil and rotate the tyres?

        • Not Me

          If the mark up for that maintenance is $120K then you are a damned fool to pay it.

          • malaka

            gas, driver wages, garaging….

      • PattiS

        It took you five minutes to find an ad for a USED bus 1000 miles away?

        Don’t forget the driver and his/her benefits, training, maintenance, insurance from the liability of buying used equipment (I recall hearing that Arlington is self-insured).

    • nom de guerre

      But the school buses for $190K will look like streetcars.

  • Arlington085

    There is two issues here: whether it’s safe and reasonable for kids to walk to school, and whether the school system acted fairly in the review process or in the announcement of the decision. There’s also the money issue, which this poll overly simplifies.

    The bottom line is that there is a lot to debate about safety, but no matter which side you fall on I hope most people can agree that the school system acted poorly in their process and this change should be delayed or cancelled pending further review.

    I don’t have a kid affected by this, but I am a parent and a resident of this community and next time this could be my issue that the school system bullies through. I plan to add my name to the parent petiton, and demand better from APS.

  • BoredHouseWife

    crossing guards need to be placed at busy intersections. maybe for some neighborhoods some parents or teens could step up and make sure the kids get to and from school. the kids can walk to school or bike. there is no need to waste money. their timing sucks but it is a good idea.

  • Poor management

    Even if the bus routes needed to be trimmed and consolidated, and if kids need to ride their own bus to their own stop, rather than treating school buses like the ART bus, and even if walkers were taking the bus to such an extent that it made it unsafe for designated riders, and even if some of the arguments about safety are over-reactions (that’s why you have crossing guards at busy streets), this whole thing was botched.

    1. We received no fewer than five letters over the spring telling us that we would soon be receiving a letter about transportation changes. That letter finally came in mid- August. I can picture the argument: “well we TOLD you there would be changes….” Knowing this was coming, I pulled up a google map of my house to my kid’s HS – guess what – 1.6 miles, so the kid should get a bus. The letter said no, she would now be a walker. Mildly annowing for us, but we live on an ART route and the kid will be driving soon. For parents with younger kids though….major pain.
    2. You have the right to appeal, which will be a long process, and often arises from a software glitch on the part of APS. I have a neighbor whose kids have to go 1/4 mile UP a hill for their busstop, while there’s one right across the street, and neighbors have to go DOWN the hill to get to that stop….not earth shattering, but makes you wonder…..
    3. To be honest, most of the parents in my neighborhood would have been pissed off no matter what, but the non-transparent methods (public hearings anyone?), and the lateness of the decisions, served to make them fume.
    4. Are we sure the trade-off is busses vs. teachers? Seems to me there will be added expenses too – more extended day assistants, for example, more staff time devoted to appeals and dealing with parents. I have not heard how many teachers APS is planning on hiring. Generally a bus is a capital investment, and a teacher is a personnel expense (salary and fright), so your planning types would not really trade one off against the other. I also realize there is plenty of turnover in bus drivers, but it was kind of ironic to see an employment ad looking for bus drivers when the article (in the Gazette) noted how they need to cut back routes.
    I am not terribly emotionally invested in this, even though I have 3 kids in the system, but I can understand why some people are. Some of the comments – about spoiled kids or spoiled parents or about combatting obesity by making kids walk, are ridiculous.

    Why can’t APS admit it made a mistake and DELAY the changes while they review individual appeals and get an upgrade to their major software? In the interim the School Board could hold some town hall type meetings. I doubt they NEED to add busses in the next couple of months. Implement the changes in January or even in October or November. A few more weeks of crowded busses won’t break the system.

  • AJ

    at the risk of sounding like “back in MY day…”

    i walked to elementary school in 3rd grade in montgomery county, and had to cross connecticut avenue to do so. i think half-mile was the county’s cutoff for elementary students, and one mile for high school students at the time.

    provided the school system has enough crossing guards (and i’m talking adults, not students), i don’t see why walking is necessarily a problem. a mile may be excessive for elementary students, though.

    • Yorkhireman

      You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, out Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!

      • Josh S

        This.

  • JimPB

    It’s not a A or B.

    The most important expenditure for schools is teachers.

    Funds are finite.

    School busses are expensive to buy and to operate.

    So, focus resources on teachers and minimize other expenditures.

    For children (the more, the better) who are walking/biking to and from school, their safety in making these trips should be addressed effectively.

    What has been missing from the comments of ARLNow.Com is what actions are needed to assure student safety (without use of a school bus) when they are going to and returning from school.

  • Jason Morris

    Have you seen the size of some of APS students that go to school. In my opinion they need to walk. Make your kid get some exercise in their life instead of playing video games before they go to school, they can walk and work off that McDonald, Burger King…etc that you bought them for dinner all week.

    • John Fontain

      You are right. But prepare to be blasted because some posters here think there aren’t many fat kids in Arlington.

      • Westover

        This is the worst of the system supporter’s arguments in this case, and really pretty crass. Just drop it OK?

        Or is that really the agenda behind this decision by APS? I mean, if that’s the best you can do to support this fiasco, you’re pretty much admitting you have nothing.

        • John Fontain

          Westover translator: “Your argument stinks but I’m not going to give any basis to explain why, but I still get to say that I win the argument because I said your argument stinks.”

          Yep, I admit I ‘have nothing.’

          • Westover

            It is nothing. It has nothing to do with the policy decision by APS.

      • Yorktown

        This is nothing but bile.

    • Josh S

      Troll or ignorant twerp?

      What do you think, ARLNow?

      • Yorktown

        My vote goes to troll. Many of these commenters are despicable. Provocation and disrespect just for sport.

  • Mike

    Why not teachers and buses and not $1.3M softball fields?

    • DCBuff

      (BTW, I agree) Because parents complained. Sound familiar?

    • Kathy Stokes

      Bingo.

  • Thes

    Walking to school is better for kids, not worse. They’ll live longer, healthier lives. Especially if they are taught how to cross the street safely.

    • Westover

      Exercise is good. Glad the CDC finally found that out.

      That is why they have PE at school, so they get supervised instruction in it. Is it the new policy of APS to turn kids loose for free form exercise crossing busy streets and pushing in the push-to-walk buttons? Wouldn’t that open the school up to accusations of not providing equal services to kids who ride the bus and do not get the same exercise? Sorry, it’s such a ridiculous tangent to this argument that it needs to be dropped on your head like a hammer.

      You may be late to the party, but the complaints about the new busing policy revolve around safety. It is not a health driven decision.

      • CW

        150 years ago similarly-aged kids were driving wagons down the Oregon Trail. Give humanity a little more credit; we did make it out of the jungle after all.

        • Westover

          Ok, I’ll concede that.

          Now, where are they supposed to park their wagons when they get to school?

          Other than that question, I have completely no idea what that has to do with this.

          • CW

            Next to the learning trailers, duh. And they can compost the biomass for the school’s learning garden.

      • Thes

        PE class is not enough. Virginia only requires only requires 150 minutes of physical education per week. Whereas the surgeon general recommends 45-60 minutes a day.

        Because childhood obesity leads to early death this is a safety issue for children, in addition to a health/quality of life issue.

        • Westover

          Can you then point me to the health benefits analysis that APS did in conjunction with this revised busing policy?

          I’m not doubting anything about the benefits of physical activity. I just want someone to show me where it was applied in the process of this particular issue.

          Thanks

          • Thes

            APS is continually touting the health benefits of walking to school. Here is a recent example from an outstanding local news source. We can be sure this critical health and safety issue is always on their minds.

          • Westover

            Again, general point accepted.

            But in the consultant’s study that resulted in this policy change, where were the health benefits factored in?

          • Thes

            You’re right! Maybe APS didn’t calculate in lowering Arlington children’s obesity into this specific policy decision. Wouldn’t that be great? That means that once APS goes back to factor in the health benefits in a future year, they could cut back even more on the buses! Arlington’s kids will be the winners again.

          • Westover

            Right. Just eliminate all the buses. It’s for the kids own good, right?

          • JayCee

            Page 42, Section 3, third paragraph.

        • Josh S

          Are you getting your 45-60 minutes per day?

        • Loocy

          Nonsense. Kids who had a healthy walk to the bus stop before will now simply be driven to school, with all the “carbon footprint”, smog, congestion, and traffic that results. We will end up with much fatter children with asthma, and some really cranky neighbors.

          • Loocy

            And below is a lovely graphic from Arlington Public Schools, showing how much bigger a carbon footprint all those new car riders will have:
            http://www.apsva.us/page/2240

          • Don’t complain when you’re sitting in traffic

            +100

      • John Fontain

        Westover said: “the complaints about the new busing policy revolve around safety”

        Not according to many of the prior comments about this issue:

        “drop off time is at 8:30am… pretty tough for single parents or parents that work.”

        “My husband and I are both working parents and right now I don’t know how we are going to get her to and from school.”

        “the teachers at WMS require all sorts of 2 inch binders to be carried to/from school daily. This is definitely not a good situation for a “walker”!”

        “I’d like to see you coordinate three different drop offs at three different schools and get to work on time.”

        “if it’s the .9 mile folks, this means 20-25 minutes with a 6-year-old to the school, then walk home and head out to work.”

        “You try getting a teenager up an extra 45 minutes earlier than they are used to”

        “You walk up some of the giant Arlington hills with a 35 pound backpack and tell me how much you pity the kids on the bus. That’s not exercise; that’s the Bataan Death March to/from school.”

        “Let me guess: make the stay at home moms and the nannies the caretakers of the world, right? Someone at the Dept of Transportation actually told one of the mothers who called that perhaps she and the other mothers could take turns walking the children to and from school. To call that patronizing is an understatement.”

        “Is Arlington going to subsidize the cost of extended day for me — close to 5K a year?”

        “how is my kid supposed to go home with kids after school on other buses than his own (or if he’s a walker) after school for play dates”

        “One of my kids can barely remember to bring his homework home on a good day. What happens when he loses his voucher?”

        “kids in packs sometimes get in trouble. they litter, they play pranks, they are kids! you want them all unsupervised all over the place in the morning and afternoon, be careful what you wish for.”

        “How are the schools going to handle students with health conditions such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, and special needs” [might get a peanut allergy attack from walking to school?]

        “To drive my my child to school last year about a mile took 15-20 minutes round trip, and to boot it was in the opposite direction of my commute.”

        • Westover

          You don’t see how a lot of those are the resultant problem created by the fact that walking is not a safe option? You really don’t get it then.

          • Thes

            I have to admit that I join Mr. Fontain in failing to see the connection between littering, waking up teenagers and the weight of binders with the notion that walking is not a safe option.

          • Westover

            It is a safety first issue. Some of those complaints are not germane. Neither are health benefits that you keep bringing up.

          • John Fontain

            I can agree with that. The primary issue should be whether the distance not bussed is too far for walking and whether there are safety concerns not reasonably overcome.

          • Just Stats

            It’s a “Someone Moved My Cheese Argument.”

        • Yorktown

          Man oh man, you are now going into super-pill territory in hyper-drive. I would suggest you get off the computer and treat yourself to a nice long 1.5 – 2 mile walk and, while you’re at it, crafting your next bon mot, make it a nice roundtrip so you can be certain to get back to our laptop for my hilarity.

          I just walked the proposed route from our front door to Yorktown’s main entrance. 60 minutes, minus anything other than my cell phone and my house keys. Too bad it wasn’t longer, right?, cause then I’d be a really gnarly dude who doesn’t mollycoddle the young folk and is ready to mount all the softies. Such incredible disdain, contempt, and selfishness.

        • Josh S

          Something about this obviously really rubs you the wrong way. Cause that’s a lot of cutting and pasting right there. Wow.
          I would submit that it’s not worth it.

        • If..

          they had not eliminated the buses for the kids, almost none of these comments would have been made. It’s the elimination of buses that has led to these comments– BECAUSE they don’t feel safe letting their 5 and 6 year olds walk .9 miles to school by themselves. Thus, they need to rearrange their schedules or drive them.

    • John Fontain

      How dare you put the health and well-being of the kids ahead of the parent’s need to get their half double decaf and surf the web with their iPads on free wifi!

    • AJ

      “they’ll live longer, healthier lives.”

      provided they don’t get hit by a car at a busy intersection in low-light conditions in the morning or early evening.

      you can teach kids how to cross the street safely, but as we’ve seen all too often in Arlington alone – that’s no guarantee that drivers are going to be careful, too.

      • Westover

        Yep. Plenty of adults get hit by the crazy drivers around here. But I bet JF would tell you they must have rode the bus to school when they were young and never learned about crossing roads safely as young unsupervised children. smh

        • NoVapologist

          Arlington actually has one of the lowest Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) scores in the entire nation.

        • JimPB

          “Plenty of adults get hit by crazy drivers around here.”

          Specifics please — number; sites; day and time; circumstances. How many have direct relevance to the safety of children/youth walking to and from school? (DIrect relevance: school days and times, sites on route children would be taking going to and from school.)

          For incidents with direct relevance: what measures could meaningfully reduce the risk for school children?

      • Chicken Little

        The ‘sky is falling’ is my line……

  • C

    The problem is they either have to set walking boundaries or bus every student. Even if they dropped it to 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile, there would still be students on “the other side” of the the street. If you look at it from the dangerous road position, then you have to determine what constitutes a dangerous road and everyone will have differing opinions. I don’t think there is a solution that will appease everyone.

    • Arlington085

      Exactly why an arbitrary measurement applied to every school via GPS is ridiculous. Arlington is small – so examine each school and draw a safe walk-zone using factors like sidewalks, street size, and crossing gaurds as bounderies.

      Why look for a generic one-size fits all policy when we can be smarter? If APS had formed a review committee last Spring with reps from schools, parents, transportation officials and public safety committees, we’d be done by now.

      • Greg

        Laziness. You can’t look at everything on a school by school basis if you go home at 5 PM every day.

      • DCBuff

        I can’t speak to other ESs in ArlCo, but my child’s school did come up with a safe-walk zone map; essentially, within boundries where a child doesn’t have to cross a primary street. The distance factor does not necessarily come into play, as there is a major trans-county artery within a half-block of the school, while in another direction it is 10+ blocks until a highly trafficed street.

        • Elmer

          To DCBuff, I just drove N. George Mason Dr. again which goes by ATS and Barrett ele. schools. Their school zone signs state 25 mph when flashing-not 20 as you posted previously nor 15 as another posted.
          I am still puzzled why the Arl. County Code has 15 mph for school zones? Sec. 14.2-12 C.
          I am going to email Arl. County for clarification.
          Thanks.

  • AVer

    Can someone comment on the distance students walked under the old walk zones? Did some elementary students walk 1 mile under the old rules? It seems unfair that someone’s child must walk in the rain, cold, etc. when the kid who lives much closer gets a bus because they cross Glebe.

    • Arlington085

      Fair in terms of safety. Unfair in terms of inconvenience? Possibly.

      But I think the better question is this: under the new APS policy, how far is a bus rider expected to walk from their home to their established bus stop? How far is too far before they add a stop?

      Because whatever that number is, to me it’s the maximum distance a walker should be expected to walk to school. The within that, scaled for safety. Does anyone know the answer?

  • crystal city rez

    How about a poll asking if APS should be considerate and give parents more than 2 weeks to totally replan their schedule. For 15 years we’ve been outside the walk zone, now suddenly we are inside it, without any sort of warning. Multiple letters were sent out talking about a new voucher system with the emphasis on cutting back on people that were not supposed to be riding the bus, not on redrawing the walk zones.

    Now our schedule goes from getting to the bus stop at 8:30 a 1/2 block from our house, to walking to school at 8:45 25 minutes from the house (assume my 5 year old can keep my pace). Instead of leaving for work at 8:30, I’ll be leaving at 9:10 at best. We can’t do extended day since we have not planned for an additional $3k a year in expenses. We can’t drive to school since we only own one car and my wife leaves for work at 7 am. I don’t know if we can work something out with neighbors yet, since they are on vacation for the next week. I really would have appreciated some time to figure this out.

    The whole voucher thing makes much more sense now that things have played out. Of course people were going to drop kids off at the bus instead of walking, that’s what our whole lives have been planned around for the past two years.

    This whole thing reminds me of Murphy trying to shove block scheduling down parents throats last year.

    • AVer

      Does this mean that under the old rules your five-year old would take the bus home and stay at home by himself/herself? I am just trying to understand the outrage about extended day from everyone that has posted something similar. I guess I don’t understand why a kid that can supervise themselves at home cannot walk somewhere by themselves.

      • Loocy

        Because a half hour walk each way means an hour round trip for the parent each way. Those are two hours a day that someone wouldn’t be able to work. Many parents stagger their schedules so that one parent leaves early and gets home on time to greet the kids, and the other leaves late in order to get the kids off to school, and they are already arriving as early/late as their offices allow. Adding a substantial walk expectation when there was none before is wreaking havoc with people’s work arrangements because they simply can’t get off early enough to drop off the car and walk to school to pick up the child.

  • Maitreya0208

    This is what we get get even though there are hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new bonds for schools issue by the county every few years? $110 million dollars in new school bonds issued in 2011-2012 alone…or approximately $5500 borrowed per student. Wow. Where is all the money going? According to ARLNow, APS spending is already highest per student in the region at $18,047 for FY2012.

    And by the way, that cost is almost exactly what UVA estimates the cost will be for an in-state Freshman entering the University in 2012, exclusive of room and board ($18,274). APS spends the same to educate it’s students that UVA does, and somehow this county is still left with a binary choice of busing, or teachers.

    Something is broken in public education. Badly, badly broken. And if one of the top school systems in the US is this broken, woe to the children in far less affluent areas.

    • Westover

      In this case the broken link are administrators without common sense who would let a computer program tell them what to do.

      Pulling the maps, extending the extended day deadline, revising the appeals process, it’s all reactionary scrambling caused by not enough up-front thinking about the process.

      We call it management by crisis, and it is a sure way to put your company (or the competition) in a downward spiral.

      • Maitreya0208

        I’d be willing to bet that there is plenty of money in the APS budget earmarked for “Green” initiatives, which will of course result in 0% improvement in educational outcomes. But APS will probably get an award that no one cares about from an organization no one has heard of to honor those “Green” initiatives that made no improvements towards the core mission, so, that will be OK. At least they can buy a press release with those millions.

        • DCBuff

          The money has gone to rebuilding all three high schools within a short time. One can debate whether it was necessary at all. But, the bonds were approved, and the construction continues apace. More bonds coming for the new elementary schools needed. As for the greening of the schools, you betcha. The school board demanded space for more bikes and you will pay for that.

          • Ed

            Do the bonds for new schools include the money for the trailers that have to immediately go right next to them? Or does the trailer money come out of the money that could be used to buy enough buses?

          • Elmer

            To DCBuff, please check my post above about the 25 mph in school zones at ATS and Barrett.
            Thanks.

          • Rebuilt them but too small

            All that money spent, and the high schools are basically at capacity when they open. Get ready for the next bond issuances.

      • F

        Could not agree more.

    • Josh S

      Just because ARLnow turned it into a binary choice on an internet poll doesn’t mean it really is a binary choice.

  • Yorktown Rider

    Spin zone warning–This statement –teachers or buses–is a ruse to get us off their backs. The fact that they screwed this up from the begining is evidence that it was not thought out that much. The letter we recived last Saturday says to go to a walking map on the APS website. No such map for Yorktown was found there, it was all elementary and middle schools. Today I went to that same page and all the maps are removed! There is a message there that pretty much says “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”

    What the heck is going on there? Is Vladimir Putin running this gig?

    • nom de guerre

      Da.

  • Chicken Little

    Today’s Washington Post article on this topic states that the change affects only 120 students.

    • Ed

      Where do you think they got that number from?

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      We have reason to believe that number is derived from some figures released by APS, but it may not be an accurate reflection of the number of students actually affected. However, we’re still unable to get solid answers from APS, so we can’t know for sure.

      • Epic Fail

        That number is just more spin from APS. They are trying to ride out the uproar.

    • bemused bystander

      All of whose parents are commenters here.

    • Moving target

      the e-mail APS sent yesterday said 250 children impacted. Let’s face it APS doesn’t have a clue. I’ve called the “call center” holy uselessness. I’m still waiting 3 weeks later to understand what they define as the “safe” route that my kid is supposed to walk.

      It’s hard to fill out an appeal form if you don’t know what you’re responding to.

      • DL

        Agree. This is not just a “walker” vs. “bus rider” debate. For “bus riders”, bus stops may have changed and sometimes made farther away with no explanation. Students affected in such a manner should also be accounted for in the impact of the new policy.

        Also, what is the policy for late buses and late late buses? The Administration’s reasoning that the new policy will let them know which student is in what bus is not very clear in this respect. Some students take “after school” classes or had the flexibility to stay in Sports Choice, Homework Club, and other after School Activities and then take the late bus. How will the Administration know which students are taking the regular bus and which ones the late bus? Is there any information posted on the late buses’ routes and times? Changes in policies for late buses or lessened flexibility for after school activities will also need to be counted as “impact” of the new Transportation policy.

      • Lizzie

        But the note from Dr. Murphy yesterday also said that the move would eliminate some 1500 “Walkbacks”. Those are the people who used to ride the bus but now are going to be denied “vouchers”. Typically those would be people closer to the edges of the walk zone who considered it safer to walk to the bus than to school. I’d say that suddenly finding out that you are going to be denied transportation means you are “affected”, correct?

        I never even realized we were considered “walkbacks” until this brouhaha. It was almost 2 miles on the odometer to drive from my driveway to the middle school drop off, and, whenever possible, my kids would simply trek the 3/4 mile or so to the closest bus stop. However, we are now deemed walkers, I think because the edge of the school property is far from that drop off point and they must be doing “crow flies” calculations. However, my children can’t fly, and the roads they would have to cross are not safe, so we are left with no choice but to drive.

  • APSNumberone

    Buses vs. Teachers: a completely ridiculous either/or scenario. Both are needed, and both should be funded based on need. With the previous two superintendents in Arlington, community processes, albeit sometimes lengthy and tedious, were held to allow citizen input to decisions that affected families. This board and superintendent don’t operate that way; hence the fallout from middle school block scheduling which had to be scrapped, and now this transportation debacle.

  • Ken Jennings

    I’ll take ‘False Dichotomies’ for $200, Alex.

    • Josh S

      +1

  • NoVapologist

    22,700 students in Arlington schools.
    -14,000 students ride the bus.
    =8,700 students who have miraculously made it to school without a bus.

    • Chicken Little

      Arlington is the smallest (i.e. the smallest) county in the country and we bus 60% of our students?

      The Board should examine the bus system and cut it way, way back from the current overuse.

  • Suzy

    1. Fact: Some buses last year were ridiculously overcrowded.
    2. Fact: Some buses were ridiculously under crowded (the Feds make APS drive kids from low test score schools to a choice school. That rule has been changed but present kids are grandfathered. Maybe in the future APS will have plenty of buses).
    3. Lost your voucher? Bus drivers will not be turning away any kids. They will begin to recognize them and they will have a list.
    4. The previous system was criticized as being “piecemeal” but the new system, with the appeals process, will end up the same. Still, “changing” to the new “computerized”, consultant derived method is a nice resume builder for somebody.

  • YTK

    Sis and I walked to school from the time we were 5 yrs old, in rain and snow, hot and cold weather. When we went to HS we took the bus but if we missed it we walked to the city bus stop, and took 2 buses to get to school.
    So, what gives here?????

    • Josh S

      Yaawwwnnnnn.
      *blink**blink*

      I’m sorry, did you say something? I must have fallen asleep.

  • Meg

    How about buses vs. administrators? Get rid of some of the administrators at Quincy Street. There’s your buses.

    • Yorktown

      Meg — You just made my day! I haven’t had a good laugh in several days now — Thank you — Brilliant and how the survey ought to read.

      • Start with the HEAD administrator

        Dr. Murphy has already worn out his welcome. His communication is terrible. The example he sets with his deceptively worded letters- think “learning cottages”– is appalling.

        His management style has also led many long-time leaders in the school system to quit. These are the people who helped make APS a great system, which Doc Murph is systematically destroying.

  • http://purple.com/purple.html Captain Pup McPuppo

    probably already been said, but hire more teacher/bus drivers. teachers that teach while driving the bus. destroy all the schools to build more froyo and burger places. have hundreds of buses (hybrid, of course) drive around arlington all day with the bus drivers teaching lessons to the kids

    like the magic school bus but no magic at all.

    • nom de guerre

      you forgot to mention that the hybrid, magic school buses will look like streetcars, be LEED certified and will result in 75 jobs.

  • Bus Driver Dan

    Buses do not cost $190,000. Where are they getting these numbers. You could buy a bus for $90,000, but I’m sure they are not paying the drivers six digits.

    • Maitreya0208

      In fairness, you don’t have to pay an employee six digits in order for them to cost six digits to employ. Even an employee making $45k probably costs their employer over $80k, once you figure in employer shares of Federal taxes, health insurance, insurance to drive the bus, general liability, unemployment tax, retirement, and any other benefits they may receive. For a school bus driver there is probably not much in the way of benefits, but that doesn’t mean the ones they have are cheap.

      To that you can add the cost of fuel and maintenance. Which isn’t cheap either…it’s not a Honda civic. And finally, if the bus is run by a contractor, you have to consider the profit motive for the contractor. No profit, no business. So, between the cost of the bus, the cost of the driver, the costs to everyone who put that driver and bus on the road, and the fuel and maintenance to keep the driver on the road, $190k sounds about right.

      • fuzzy numbers

        The cost to employ someone with some of the best benefits in the country is about 1.3 * their salary. I doubt the bus drivers have a fantastic insurance and 401k match, but let’s just assume they do. So let’s do the math together: 45,000 * 1.3 = 58,500. A far cry from 80k. Also if a bus cost 90k, I am sure that it doesn’t need to be replaced every year. So in year 2 you would expect that cost to be only 100k (given the numbers you find accurate).

        These buses are contracted out, and APS needs to re-negotiate that contract. I highly doubt bus drivers even make $45k a year especially since they may work a maximum of 4 hours a day (remember you pay extra to rent the bus for field trips), and let’s not forget they don’t work between June through August.

        I think that $190k number is a fabrication, or they need to fire their contracts personnel.

        • C

          Only they work more than 4 hours a day- they are also responsible for field trips. As I understand it, drivers work 30+ hours a week and are under an 11 month contract.

  • Albert

    Mobile Learning Cottages: Teacher drives the MLC, picks the kids up in the morning, parks MLC around back of school, teaches class in the MLC all day, then drives the kids home in the afternoon.

    • Ms. Frizzle

      I’m on it.

  • Old Curmudgeon

    Unfortunately, this is just another example of the “new” superintendent running roughshod over the community and the school board. The process that has gotten us to this point is exactly the opposite of “the Arlington Way” and the school board did not have the guts to rein in the superintendent.

    While the new policy may be the best for APS (I express no opinion on the merits as neither I nor most of the readers of this blog have enough facts to judge) the policy should be put on hold by the school board until it is vetted in the Arlington Way. This means: go back to the same rules that were in effect at the start of last school year and plan to implement the new policy (whatever that turns out to be) at the start of next semester or next year.

    If there had been appropriate debate and public input, the controversy would now be minor and the issues that have made many Arlingtonians unhappy would have been resolved. It is the responsibility of the school board to ensure that this debate occurs.

    It has been said that “you are what you were” and the superintendent was a PE teacher so he is used to dictating his policies. Had he been a science or humanities teacher, he probably would have learned the value of collaborative decision making. But unless the school board makes him stop on this decision until it is properly vetted, then there will be no reason for him to consider the Arlington Way when he wants to make major policy changes in the future.

    I am afraid that the school board will fail to step up and supervise the superintendent and it is too late for the public to affect the upcoming election of school board members so, unless the board does reclaim its rightful position as the policy setters for APS, the only way for the public to show its collective displeasure is with the other school issue at the voting booth.

    We all know that the school bond will pass. However, if the margin of passage is reduced by ten or fifteen percent over prior bonds, it would send a strong signal to the board that rubber stamping policies that have been rushed through at the last minute without public input will not be approved by the citizens of Arlington.

    Since our elected representatives appear to be unable to supervise their employee, I am going to signal my concern at the ballot box. I hope that I am wrong and the board takes positive action. If so, I will join what will no doubt be a majority of Arlingtonians and will vote for the school bond. But the school board’s reaction to this current controversy will determine how I will cast my vote.

    • Yorktown

      Wonderful advice — Many thanks. I will follow your lead at the ballot box.

      Interesting point on the PE Teacher front too. And brave of you to make it. I’d say PE Teacher and ambitious politician looking to go into hyperdrive before November. Maybe he enjoys Richmond — it’s a nice city. One doesn’t like to think this way but the whole set-up is so bizarre and yet so classic.
      And I do believe this Board just let itself be steamrolled.

    • Put Murphy on I-66 going west

      Fairfax is so close. I’m sure they’d love to have him back.

  • ArlingtonParent

    To elementary school parents with unsafe walks: perhaps your children and you could do a test walk, recording video of difficult crossings (Old Dominion at Williamsburg? George Mason at Lee Highway?) during the morning or afternoon rush hour? Some YouTube clips might get some additional attention.

    Also, OldCurmudgeon makes some good points.

  • The Bible

    Instead of buying a $190,000 bus, just have the students that can’t walk 1.5 miles jump into a pick-up truck.

  • Lucifer

    It is never an either or decision. More important is whether students have a safe route to school. There are far to many streets without sidewalks or bus safety zones to establish a fixed “one size fits all” policy.

    Yes the County does sidewalks, not APS, but far to many sidewalks have been blocked by residents who refuse to agree to change.

    Sorry but here is one vote for our future generations.

  • Peaparty

    Fat kids need to walk more… the time will pass quickly on their iPhones anyways..

    • not in arlington

      Have you been in the schools? If the obesity rate is 5%, I’d be shocked.

  • MommyDearest

    I would like to add a comment about something else that is potentially adding confusion in this whole last minute business. For those who have followed the school’s pleas to fill out their First Day Packets online beginning Aug 1, there is Transportation information listed on your students “Registration” page of the system. And this information is not consistent with the notices sent by the school. My Y’Town daughter is listed as both AM and PM bus rider, although our letter said we are walkers (and we live more or less at the 1.5 distance mark, so it really could have gone either way for us). My elementary school daughter is listed as an AM walker and a PM Extended day student, even though we got a bus voucher. APS should either update the information in that system, remove the contents entirely, or replace the contents with something generic like “TBD”.

  • Waaaah!

    OMG. ARCO paruhnts are more whiney and entitled than their sprogs!
    Your preshush will pass through APS in but a few years…..this is not the end of. The world …..get over it , get over yourselves already!

  • Old Curmudgeon
  • The Jimmy

    Any chance we can get the stats on this problem?

    It would be great to see a with the number of students within one mile of the elementary schools. Lets see if there is a real problem that can be solved by APS leaders. If not, is might be time to vote for new leadership.

  • Informative Video

    APS has posted an informative video on the subject http://www.apsva.us/page/40

  • Tika

    I have tried calling several times to Department of Transportation Services call center @703-228-8670 since yesterday to find out the status of my appeal application, however, I get busy ring-tone every-time I made call. Is this phone really working? Has anyone got chance to connect to this number??

  • Rob

    The superintendant house is closer to Taylor School than mine, but his home comes with bus service provided. I can pay $5,000 per year per child (3) for six years to deal with the elimination of bus service to my home.

    hmmm $90,000 in extended day costs … I could have almost fund my own consultant study of the efficiency of school transporatation.

    • Rob

      …but instead i’ll invest in spell and grammar checking software : )

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