Wednesday, June 11, 2008


And what happened to "safety first"?

Below, you will find an excerpt from a N&O article in today's paper, entitled "Heat Takes a Toll On Buses". You can view the entire article at:


"Meanwhile, some school buses lack air conditioning altogether.

Raleigh resident Colleen Hodges said her 6-year-old daughter sometimes comes home with a red face and matted hair after a half-hour ride on the school bus.

Alvin McNeill, director of operations for the Wake County Public Schools transportation department, said the school system does not have enough air-conditioned buses to transport all of the students in summer school and year-round schools. Of the system's 874 buses, 313 have air conditioning, he said.

Wake County has 46 year-round schools, including 26 added in the 2007-08 school year.

Hodges said she plans to start driving her two daughters to school, despite high gas prices.

"They're so little," she said. "We don't want to have to keep subjecting them to that."

(Staff writer Zo' Buck contributed to this report.) or (919) 932-8742"


Just another reason why massive, forced, year-round school conversions are not a good idea. Speak up, everyone. Speak up!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What I Said...

I spoke before the County Commissioners at their 7:00 public hearing Monday night -there was a 3-minute time limit. The large room was packed as people gave their opinions about the proposed budget. I spoke specifically on the subject of the budget requests that the Wake County School Board has made. I mentioned the transportation report I had given to the Co. Comm. (showing the dramatic increase during the summer months - according to WCPSS data), and brought up the increase in electricity expenses despite a decrease in membership for all except 6 of the 19 converted elementary schools.

I left with them a graph showing the projected 2007-'08 increases in membership for those 19 schools, and the actual increases (mostly decreases). It's slow-going, but I'm still figuring out, per school, the electricity increase during the summer months and comparing that with the enrollment decreases. One example I mentioned was Middle Creek Elem. that decreased in membership by 84, yet increased in electricity costs by over 60% per student (66% I think - I'm going by memory).

I know there are variables, etc., but I'm just tired of board members pretending like MYR conversions haven't been costly. Yes, I know it's cheaper than building new schools, but... well, that's a whole discussion that I won't dare get started on today!
Anyway - I did put in a quick plug for teacher salaries and the AG program. I also urged Co. Comm. or someone to look into specific requests on the budget, and find out what input the stakeholders had in deciding where to spend that money (one example - professional development days - is that where the teachers themselves want to pour that money? Will they be beneficial, or a waste of time like some are?)
I threw in the fact that the School Board has been warned for YEARS about the repercussions of implementing a plan that has an extensive, documented track record of failure. Added costs is always listed as one of the reasons for converting back to traditional calendars.

I did put in some positives, and stayed respectful, but ended up like this: I would love to support the entire budget, but until the School Board (Admin. too) can admit that they have made some mistakes (which I think they have with the forcing of YR school conversions) I just can't be on board.

I also spoke earlier at the 3:00 hearing downtown before the Wake County delegation to the General Assembly. My subject was MYR school conversions. I was hoping others would speak about the schools, but of the 17 people signed up to speak, no one else did. I had to leave early, so I guess someone could have decided to speak that wasn't signed up, but that's usually rare.

I hope lots of folks have called, emailed, and visited these General Assembly members. I can't stress enough how important it is to let these legislators know what is happening. I still think some key decisions will have to be made by them. PLEASE let them hear from you!