Letter Urging Against Proposed A-B School Bus Policy Change

(Note: bostonese.com obtained letters sent to Acton-Boxborough school committee opposing the proposed school bus policy change)

To: [email protected]
Subject: About school bus policy change

Dear Superintendent and School Committee members,

We are writing to you regarding the upcoming school bus policy change in Acton-Boxborough school district.

We appreciate the hard work you all have been doing for our community and school district. Before you make the critical decision about the school bus policy change which will impact many local families, we’d like to voice our opinions for your consideration.

1. We have been really happy and proud to be Acton residents due to many great features being offered here, like the freedom of making a choice from 6 wonderful elementary schools and the current wonderful school bus policy… Though we have to pay much higher taxes comparing with other towns, we feel that it’s worth it! We hope that the wonderful features/advantages we could enjoy as an Acton-Boxborough resident can stay, especially for many working families who are in critical needs of these wonderful services!

2. For the current suggested school bus policy change, we support the following items:

1) One-day bus pass rule change
2) Parents should sign a waiver for Liability concerns.

3. However, here is what we strongly disagree from the current suggested school bus policy change: Transportation to private learning/activity centers (usually some permanent bus passes) will be discontinued. Here is why:

1) Extra-curriculum learning/activity centers provide students with a variety of after school enrichment and huge developmental benefit. This aligns with the mission of the Acton Schools:
“To prepare all students to attain their full potential as lifelong learners, critical thinkers, and productive citizens of our diverse community and global society ”. Current bus pass policy helps with achievement of the school mission.

2) In addition to a great school system, school bus transporting students to learning/activity centers has been a great attraction for many families to move to and stay at Acton, despite of the high property tax in Acton. Current bus pass policy helps with holding value of residential properties for the town.

3) Discontinuing bus transportation to a variety of after school programs may cause more traffic. Let’s think about the situation where 10 kids being dropped off at one place vs. at 10 different places. Also, at the school dismissal time, the danger for the walking students could be greatly increased by increasing the individual picking ups.

4) Sending kids who are beyond daycare age but not mature enough to stay home alone may pose a greater safety risk than leaving them supervised in the learning/activity centers.

5) Given the fact that this proposed change may potentially impact over 600 students and their families, the time window for evaluating the proposal and for taking residents’ inputs have been very limited.

4. Here is what we propose to the school committee:

1) Delay the implementation of the bus policy change to allow more in-depth research on situations and resolutions.

2) Consider continuing bus transportation service to after school learning/activity centers who are willing to comply bus drop-off safety rules (teacher greets students at bus stop, checks absence, etc.)

Thank you for listening to us and considering our inputs! Your service to the community and your help in addressing our needs and concerns are deeply appreciated!