“Save our Schools” Opposes Turner’s Position on Buses

“Save our Schools Montclair” just sent out a press release clarifying their position on busing to support the Magnet system in response to Karen Turner’s reported position in yesterday’s New York Times article on Montclair’s municipal elections. Turner supports the magnet system, but suggests that students could use New Jersey Transit buses, instead of school buses, citing cost as a factor.

According to the article, Karen Turner (Real Progress Montclair), has “called for a re-examination of school busing that dates to the 1970s, citing its cost” and “supports the magnet system that has integrated Montclair’s schools, but wonders if students could use New Jersey Transit rather than school buses.”(emphasis added)

Please read the full text of the article here: After Spending Freely, Liberal Town Faces Fight on Frugality

SOS Montclair strongly opposes this reported position. Busing makes our Magnet system viable by providing every child in town with true access to every school.

Please also note that last year, the Board of Education, via the Transportation Working Group, thoroughly examined costs and alternatives associated with busing. While some cost savings were found and implemented, this report found that maintaining a robust busing service is critical to maintaining the Magnet school system.

“Save our Schools” also comments on Turner’s position on library funding:

On a separate issue, please also note that the article clarifies Ms. Turner’s position on library funding, saying “she says she supports libraries but wants to consider privatizing them.” (emphasis added)

We urge you to carefully consider which candidates will best safeguard educational priorities for our children, and remember to vote TODAY, May 8.

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  1. “report found that maintaining a robust busing service is critical to maintaining the Magnet school system”

    That’s not quite accurate. The report drew conclusions based upon this assumption. Admittedly, I think it a reasonable assumption. But they never actually studied this particular issue.

    The conclusion was actually that we should continue to provide busing beyond the state-mandated rules. That is, there are students in town that – by state law – we don’t need to bus. We bus them anyway.

    This isn’t just a “magnet school” issue. Even if we assume that the magnet system wouldn’t be harmed, it likely would cause more traffic on our roads to reduce busing.

    The idea of using NJ Transit to supplement busing was considered (something like “walking buses”, but on trains or such). It didn’t save money (at least at current gas/bus contract prices).

    This was another example of the Working Groups looking at all the issues, leaving nothing “sacred”. At the end, no major change to busing was made. But at least the issue was examined for the possibility of savings.

    One interesting outcome to this, though, was the possibility of shifting schedules around to reduce transport costs. This idea ultimately evolved into the more general “magnet review” that has been under way for a number of weeks now.

    We’re supposed to receive some interim report “shortly”, with the final report due in late June. Come to (or watch on TV34) BOE meetings for further news on this topic.

    Also note that BOE meetings are now *live* on TV34, either the cable channel or the web site. I amused myself for a few minutes while attending last night’s meeting by also watching the meeting on TV34 on my phone. Admittedly, I am easily amused.


  2. “One interesting outcome to this, though, was the possibility of shifting schedules around to reduce transport costs.”

    That’s already in place. That’s why the start time of schools are staggered. So the same buses can service many schools.

  3. My prediction is that the public school system will completely re transform itself back into a hyperlocal structure because the bussing costs will become more and more unsustainable. Montclair is a community of intelligent and able individuals (throughout the town) that should be able to handle this change gracefully. Perhaps there are better solutions than costly bussing.

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