Windfall restores bus service for some Wareham students

Transportation changes still coming as district plans restructuring
By Matthew Bernat | Apr 26, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood and School Committee Chair Judy Caporiccio listen during the public participation portion of Wednesday's meeting.

Bus service for students living one to two miles from Wareham schools will not be cut after additional funds unexpectedly became available.

On Wednesday, the Wareham School Committee approved a fiscal year 2018 budget that was $115,000 higher than initially proposed. Of that, $35,000 was added to the operations and maintenance line item and the remainder went towards transportation. Committee members approved a total $28,380,103 district budget.

The vote ends a budget saga between the town and school that required school officials to lower their initial budget proposal by $1 million earlier this month. The reduction was due to limited town funds.

To reach that figure, cuts in several areas were needed, the most problematic for parents being the loss of bus service for all students living within two miles of school. Students living one mile or less from school were unaffected as bus service was already unavailable to them.

Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood informed committee members that voters at Monday’s Town Meeting approved the school budget with the added funds. She noted Town Administrator Derek Sullivan made the recommendation after finding out additional state funds were available.

The extra money was due to the delayed opening of a Plymouth charter school, Shaver-Hood said. She explained that the state had budgeted tuition reimbursement funds for the charter school. With the opening pushed back to the 2018/2019 school year, Shaver-Hood said the state had extra money for Wareham.

Committee member Geoff Swett cautioned that those funds may not be available next year when the charter school opens, and officials should start planning now.

“In a sense, all we we’re doing is dodging a bullet,” said Swett.

Even though bus service won’t be cut, big changes are still in store for the district regarding transportation.

Shaver-Hood said officials will be reexamining all of the town’s bus routes with an eye toward consolidating stops. Also, parents must register their children with the district if they plan on using bus service.

Doing so increases efficiency and lowers costs, Shaver-Hood said.

“We need to be very effective with our transportation,” said Shaver-Hood. “Half-empty busses have been going out, that will stop. Parents must let us know of students plan on using the bus.”

Other cost cutting measures include the elimination of late buses on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Before the vote, three parents stepped forward to voice their concern about the proposed cut during the meeting's public participation portion, which is held at the start of the meeting.

Those parents said safety was a main concern as young students would be forced to walk on busy highways. They mentioned difficulties juggling work and finding time to pick up children from school as well.

Committee Chair Judy Caporiccio informed them the transportation issue would be taken up later in the meeting.

Comments (8)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 26, 2017 22:34

It's either the paper, the Town, or both that like to get a rise and then back off.

 

A few days ago the sky was falling when the ridiculous announcement was made that kids would be walking 2 miles to school...uphill both ways...against the wind...in the snow...with no shoes.  Everybody got all worked up and now they're like "got-ya...just kidding"!  Funds magically appeared so sorry for the false alarm.  Why don't they just wait to get their facts straight before announcing such things?

 

Same with the threat of not plowing unaccepted roads.  Several articles, meetings, and countless comments about how crazy that was.  It went on for weeks. Everybody was up in arms.  Then, after all that, they simply announce that the roads will be plowed.  All the belly-aching and complaining was a bunch of wasted energy.

 

And we can't forget the chicken tax.  That one came and went.  That foolish idea was released in a "ready-fire-aim" manner.  Definitely one of the more stupid things. Luckily there has been nothing else on that one.  It will never work.

 

 



Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Apr 27, 2017 10:00

Is this really a surprise?  Scare tactics so the town meeting goers will possibly amend the school dept budget line and they can get all that they want.  It has become a joke.  Some restructuring needs to be done with this school system, starting at the top.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Apr 27, 2017 11:20

Distractions, distractions...while so much else grinds on unnoticed.



Posted by: Uptohere | Apr 27, 2017 11:50

This comes across like slight of hand. Look at my left hand but whoa .....here it is in my right all along.  And look they are already warning you about next year.  And let's all give the players a warm hand of applause. Smells fishy to me and not in a good ....yum...way.



Posted by: Knocked for six | Apr 28, 2017 06:40

Load of crap!!



Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Apr 28, 2017 12:12

Dig deep School Committee and administration.....you won't be getting funded any extra next year by the voters after ANOTHER bait and switch. You may want to consider slashing administrative salaries instead of the transportation next year since you have ample time to react for next year's budget. Additionally, the School Committee better start having an idea about replacing the Superintendent, since it's no secret she wants out of Wareham. Do you think the diminishing school budgets every year, while voters are asking for admin. cuts, are going to keep her in Wareham?



Posted by: Knocked for six | Apr 28, 2017 19:28

Yeah what Dr. D said!!!!



Posted by: jjjjjj | May 01, 2017 23:24

Things like this are why I and others have issues trusting the School Committee.  I won't say for certain that they orchestrated some shenanigans in this case - but it pushes the limits of the "smell test" for me. There's a pattern of "chicken little" claims that don't come to pass and continued empire building.



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