Letter to the Editor: Problems with schools and buses
I am so glad to see the newspaper has a lot of interesting news of late. I like the information about upcoming events and the contests during the fair and all the other news that has been covered more fully of late. I am subscribed to it because just as soon as I think I know what is going on in town, I find more in your paper.
But I wrote this letter because of problems with the schools and especially the bus. I have step grandchildren who now must walk an unreasonable distance to school. Two girls must walk from Ravenal (across Ellsworth Avenue and almost to College Street) to the middle school. They are 11 and 12. A brother goes to Benton and has a problem that he must see a doctor for once a month and a second professional monthly, also. He must now walk when he rode the bus last year. I am not sure but have been told that the people around their home get to ride the bus.
I am worried about my granddaughters getting picked up by somebody during their long walk as well as the distance being too great before and after school. If the weather is bad, what then? Also if they have to have help as much as breakfasts, lunches, clothes and supplies then one would also know they don't have gas for their vehicle very much. They also have another handicapped child going to Prairie View who does ride. There is only one adult driver in the family, who is not well either, and is under doctor care. In order for the mother to get the children to school herself safely, she must take the baby and her handicapped child in the morning and walk them all. Mom has discussed this extensively with the bus administrator who says later, later later, he will see about it.
I don't know who all is aware of the program the school has that buys school supplies for certain low income children as well as shoes and clothes. A shopper takes them and makes the purchases at Walmart (I feel that is unfair to other cheap stores in town so it gives unfair priority to Walmart). There are quite a few participating families. I don't know where the money comes from. The family met this criteria for two years in a row and now have what they need. It seems those who are poor pass the word along. It is an immense blessing. The four school aged children in the family I am speaking about, received this help this year. But when they went to school they were required to pay a ten dollar enrollment fee apiece. And what for? Of course the family didn't have it so they were allowed to give an IOU until the time they had money coming in.
I don't see why: 1) they have to pay an enrollment fee this time. 2) Why the bus cannot take them to school. 3) We have a school bus department that is not willing and says it does not have the money to get all the kids to school (I am told). I think we should sell that field out there that was a waste of money and use it more wisely to do what is needed to be done. It is sitting there doing no child any good that I know about. It isn't helping our teachers either. Maybe the school board had plans for it and I missed it or something, but keeping our kids safe going to school is priority.
Carol J. Brown, Marshall