Cunha returns to old schedule, cancels buses


Posted by on Mon, September 11, 2006

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Cheri Parr
Last year, Cunha students crowding on SamTrans buses was a major issue. It was temporarily alleviated by Cunha's emergency bus service.

This Friday is the last day for the temporary "Devil’s Slide" schedule at Cunha.

Beginning Monday, September 18, Cunha’s day will be begin at 8:30am and end at 3:05pm. Zero period will run from 7:42 to 8:25am.  The bus service that was provided by the district will no longer be available beginning Monday.


Comment 1
Tue, September 12, 2006 12:26am
W. Scholtz
All my comments

Transportation for our children to and from school has to be one of the worst in the country if not the worst.
Also why does Sam Trans put in extra buses for the kids in Pacifica, the #14 bus route? Why can we not do that her in our school system.

Comment 2
Tue, September 12, 2006 1:41am
Cheri Parr
All my comments

I agree that we are letting our kids, and our community down by not providing buses for our kids.  What many may not understand is the trickle down effect this situation has on our low-income families on the coast.  Not only does the lack of a comprehensive school bus program add to existing traffic problems on the coast, but the burden and cost of transportation hits especially hard on our low income population.  Families making on average $14,000/year are paying to send their children on public transportation, and the overcrowding situation caused by lack of bussing, https://coastsider.com/index.php/site/news/1059/ has resulted in many workers being “left off the bus” with no other means of getting to work, as children crowd the busses to get to school.

In my opinion, SamTrans has made consistent and ongoing efforts to help alleviate our local problem, including operation Sea Otter, https://coastsider.com/index.php/site/news/1108/, and by re-routing the 294 to add accessible routes to the mobile home park residents.  I’d ask the question, is this really an issue we expect SamTrans to solve?  Where is the accountability of our school district, especially given the unique accessibility issues faced by all our coastside families?

If this issue is one of concern, I’d recommend you make your voice heard; here on Coastsider, at School Board meetings, and at the upcoming election of school board officers.

Comment 3
Tue, September 12, 2006 9:22am
KWeber
All my comments

As an employee of the School District, I long for the “good old days” when we had buses.  But I was alway startled when I went to County Office of Education events and the issue of buses would come up and inevitably I got the response: “You still have buses??  We lost our buses ten years ago!!”.  I guess we were one of the last districts in San Mateo County to offer free busing.  And yes, I agree that Sam Trans needs to step up to the plate and offer more buses.

Comment 4
Tue, September 12, 2006 10:52am
P. A. Chimienti
All my comments

Nothing worse than seeing the kids hanging out waiting a long time for a samtran at city hall, at Adcock, at Albertsons (especially now that it is empty). 

When the school district did provide bus service, which by the way ended abruptly after one of many ‘tax’ measures failed, it was not free.  Each rider had to pay a fee which was not inexpensive considering what it was.

I looked up the expenditures for Cabrillo for pupil transportation & supplies (code #4600) and Transportation salaries (code #2600) for years from 1998 to 2004. Here is the site for you to see for yourself. (2005-06) was not there so I could not include. 

http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us

As you can see after the 3/02 election the expenses took quite a nose dive and then disappeared the following year.  Considering the income for the district was in the millions the transportation expense percentage was too small to even matter (except for the parents needing the service that is)

Oh, please note in the picture who the majority of riders are.  They are certainly not from Ocean Colony.  Hey also I am sure the district is keeping the busing from Moonridge to Farallon to keep those percentages evened out for the Feds…..

_amounts were rounded____________

#2600   ‘98 $214,800., ‘99 $363,000., ‘00 $391,000., ‘01 $419,00., ‘02 $203,000., ‘03 $0.00
‘04 no longer a line item.

#4600   ‘98 $71,600., ‘99 $105,300., ‘00 $99,000.,
‘01 $90,700., ‘02 $34,000., ‘03 $0.00., ‘04 no longer a line item.

Ok enough said. 

Pat Chimienti

Comment 5
Tue, September 12, 2006 1:37pm
Leonard Woren
All my comments

To KWeber, regarding “you still have buses?”  How many of the other districts are semi-rural?  What’s the average distance from home to middle school in Cabrillo compared with in Bay-side districts?

This District has different needs.  What’d I’d like to see are statistics comparing only with other <u>rural</u> and <u>semi-rural</u> districts.  My guess is that they still run buses.

When CUSD cancelled busing, they said “we’re in the education business, not the transportation business.”  My question was and still is:  How can kids get an education if they can’t get to school?

Comment 6
Tue, September 12, 2006 3:50pm
Mike Perkins
All my comments

Gee, what happened to walking to school.  No busses where I came from…but then again, I am a dinosaur.  Times are a changing.  My mom was the only user of busses in my family…she used them to get back and forth to work every day for 12 years.

Me thinks our priorities are perverted.

I suppose this may not be civil/PC enough to post.

Comment 7
Tue, September 12, 2006 7:27pm
Don R. Whitt
All my comments

I’ve close friends who raised their kids in rural settings - they had the exact same problems and relied solely on cars and busses for their kids school transportation. Even today, those grown-up kids look at bicycles like they’re something out of the 19th century and don’t use them at college.

Could a private bus system make it out here?? has anyone ever tried that approach?

Comment 8
Tue, September 12, 2006 10:38pm
Leonard Woren
All my comments

As I’ve mentioned publicly more than once, I walked to elementary school starting as soon as I was old enough to get there and back without getting lost.  I went to an out of the area junior high school which was much too far to get to on my own (about the distance from Moss Beach to Cunha!), so we had a neighborhood carpool to get us there.  When I started high school at age 14, I had two choices to get there:  walk or bicycle.  The district didn’t have buses and there was no way on earth that my parents would be chauffeurs.  Not even in the rain unless it was a deluge.

Any student old enough to not get lost who lives within a couple of miles or so of his/her school and can walk or bicycle to school without traveling down highway 1 has no business expecting motorized transportation of any type.

That said, we still need busing for non-HMB students attending the middle and high schools in HMB, and probably for the students in HMB north of 92 since there is no non-highway path to get from north HMB to the schools.

Comment 9
Wed, September 13, 2006 6:00am
Ken Johnson
All my comments

There is a CUSD Board Meeting

THURSDAY, September 14, 2006

IV.  RECONVENE OPEN SESSION � 7:00 P.M.
VIII .  COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC ON ITEMS NOT ON AGENDA

Location: District Offices [adjacent to Hatch Elementary
498 Kelly Avenue �  Half Moon Bay

Do YOU wish to just gripe here � or attend and express your opinion �

.

Thought I heard our incumbents say they had something that was supposed to sound like a solution at the San Mateo Times � Interview Tuesday morning!

.

�what happened to walking to school� � and just how far was it �both ways uphill�?

Measure the distance from the District�s furthest point to Cunha � preferably walking during a winter storm with a backpack loaded with books!

Ken Johnson

Comment 10
Wed, September 13, 2006 10:31am
Sam Carrieri
All my comments

Mike & Leonard, I to walked to school in NYC from little Italy to 6th Ave im a 67 years old dinosour. Back in those days you could walk to school with little fear of getting mugged or raped or kidnapped these are different times.Both my daughters went to HMB High & Cunha i wouldn"t let them walk to school down Highway 1 & that was 18+ years ago. Busing back than was a lifesaver for us.We used to walk them to the bus stop & wait with them till bus arrived. Look at the kid’s waiting for a ride outside the library @ 4-5 pm when school let out @ 3pm. SAD. Glad i don’t have any kid’‘s going to HMB school’s & both my daughter’s have moved out of HMB.Although when the temp is 110 degrees they say wish i was back in HMB.

I don’t know NYC so I don’t know how far “little Italy to 6th Ave” is.

Regardless, let me make it very clear:  I’m not suggesting that any students walk or bicycle along highway 1.  It’s just too dangerous.  Maybe someday when the Parallel Trail is completed, this will change.  In the meantime, students who live in HMB should walk/bicycle to schools in HMB, students in El Granada should do the same to El Granada Elementary, and the same for students in Montara going to Farallone View.  And come to think of it, it’s easy enough to get from the east side of Moss Beach to Montara without going on SR 1, although it may be slightly out of the way for some.

As to crime danger, I don’t know.  How much of it is increased danger vs increased fear?  I suppose that I should point out that when I walked to elementary school (3/4 mile), we did it in groups of 5-10—no younger kids walked alone outside of the immediate vicinity of their house, just because it was the natural thing to do and was fun.

So parents who think that kids can’t walk to school also never let them out of sight when they’re home, playing out in the street or going to friend’s houses?  Give me a break.

“Look at the kid�s waiting for a ride outside the library @ 4-5 pm when school let out @ 3pm. SAD.”

When I was attending an out of area junior high, I sometimes had to wait an hour or more to get picked up, so I can sympathize with that.  However, I also remember kids being able to hitch rides with other parents:  “hey, take my friend home, ok” or “hi, can I get a ride home with you?” or even a parent spotting a neighbor kid and asking if they want a ride home.  Doesn’t this happen anymore?  Don’t parents know neighbor’s kids and vice versa?  Isn’t the whole point of a small town the sense of community?

Comment 12
Wed, September 13, 2006 7:51pm
Mike Perkins
All my comments

Oh Sam…you are so refreshing…I’ll say no more…except…you are a beautiful voice in the wildreness today. 

What do suppose happened??

I love all of this back and forth on whether there should be busses.  I just want to point out that for some residents on the coast there is busing, we seem to have enough dollars to bus kids from Moonridge to what WAS the best school on the coast, Farralone View, now the school is unfortunatly, as mediocre as the rest of the coast.  Why can the disrtict afford to bus kids who have payed little or nothing into the school district yet can’t supply transportation to the taxpaying parents and students of the district???

“So parents who think that kids can’t walk to school also never let them out of sight when they’re home, playing out in the street or going to friend’s houses?  Give me a break.”

No, I don’t.  When my son is walking to his friends house, we call the house first to make sure someone is home and he calls me the minute he gets to his friends house.  Most of his friends do that same.  If I haven’t heard from him in 10 mins, I call the house, if they haven’t seen him both myself and the friends mom start looking for him.

I would love to live in an idealic world where kids are never snatched by strangers, where trusted adults never molest kids and I don’t have to have the rule of outside “only where I can see you”.  But it’s not he way it is anymore.

My kids are not allowed to get in a car with anyone unless they have permission from me first, trusted neighbor, grandma or anything else.  I have to know where they are at all times. 

Paranoid, maybe…but that is the world we live in now.

Comment 15
Thu, September 14, 2006 5:41pm
Aime Hurley
All my comments

Wow Rob….

First of all the children who are bused from Moonridge to other schools are bused because of the desegregation laws.  Otherwise, most of the Latino population would only go to one school.  Those same laws apply to other school districts in California such as San Francisco.  I believe the federal government helps pay for this as desegregation IS a federal law.

Secondly, now that more “non English speakers” attend Farralone View the test scores will go down.  When a non-English speaker has to take a test in English only, they tend not to do very well, even if they are a genius.

It saddens me that you consider the schools on the coast Mediocre.  I am assuming you are basing this opinion on the test scores.  Having worked in schools in many parts of the Bay Area I can tell you that the schools are not mediocre.  The only difference between our local public school and private schools is that public schools have a wider variety of kids who have a much larger range of skills.  With the No Child Left Behind Act, every single child has to take the CAT6, including children in special education as well as children who speak no English.

If one didn’t know better, one might think your comments are a bit prejudiced.

Comment 16
Thu, September 14, 2006 6:26pm
Sam Carrieri
All my comments

Thanks Cindi, You said it all! Call me & my wife paranoid too. My youngest daughter graduated Cunha in 86 & HMB HI in1990. My kids played in front of our house with all the neighborhood kids we made lots of babies back then!SIGH BUT they did not walk to school (traffic has doubled since we moved here in 6/69) you could guarantee one of the other kids would come running to us & fink on my daughters when they did something wrong.. I guesss it doesn"t rain or storm where the “let them kids walk to school"advocates live. Mike, what Cindi says is “what do you supposed happened"Bad world we live in these days but it’s the only one we gots! Love my daughters they are more paranoid about thier kids than i was.
Call me a still paranoid grandpop!

Comment 17
Thu, September 14, 2006 9:39pm
Cheri Parr
All my comments

Tonight I had planned to attend the school board meeting at 7 to address the busing issue, but in an ironic twist of fate, Cunha planned their back to school/meet the teachers night tonight at the same time.  It makes me wonder if the board and the school even talk, much less consider coordinating schedules so that involved parents are not forced to choose between the two.  It was a difficult decision, but I chose to be there for my son.  I’d love to hear from Ken or anyone else who made the meeting, what was discussed.

Amie—

You are missing the point.  My point is if there already are busses running up AND down the coast everyday, transporting this evidently “privilaged” group you speak of, why can’t the disrtict 1) use larger busses and take more kids(it would seem ONLY allowing access to transportation to a certain group IS discriminatory in and of itself, doesn’t it??) and 2) take people both ways, up and down the coast.  My comment has nothing to do w/prejudce.  It is just another example of a poorly run government agency, this would never happen in the private sector.  This school district seems to be good at making the least out of what they have and then in order to ‘make do’ the district recuits all of the PC parents around here to guilt us into voting to raise taxes.  Give me a break.

Comment 19
Fri, September 15, 2006 8:58am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Part of the problem is that we built ourselves a community for people who don’t have cars (Moonridge) in a place where they can’t walk to school or downtown.

The other issue—which I continue to find astonishing—is that members of our community, including members of the school board, are out promoting a wasteful and unbuildable bypass, rather than support the public transportation (and school schedules) that will help solve our morning traffic mess.

Anybody looking forward to the commute when our schools return to their pre-Slide schedules?

Comment 20
Fri, September 15, 2006 10:22am
Kate Benson
All my comments

I think one of the biggest dangers to kids walking to and from school is the speed of traffic on residential streets.

While I certainly share Cindi’s and Sam’s concerns about kids being abducted or molested, I’ve witnessed firsthand more than one near-accident between an automobile and child (on or off a bicycle). If you walk around Montara, you’ve probably noticed a number of handpainted, kid-made signs pleading cars to “slow down, please!!!”

As the mother of two wild preschoolers, I’ll admit that I’m often in a hurry to get somewhere or just plain tired and distracted, so I can understand how people might be tempted to drive at greater-than-residential speeds.

But if we want to encourage parents to allow their children to walk or bike to school, I think we all need to take the advice of our local kids and “slow down, please!”

Comment 21
Fri, September 15, 2006 6:32pm
Dean Skelton
All my comments

This thread started off with, why is there no more school busing?
Well surprise… there is no money for it.
The priority of our/any school district is to provide quality education.
It is not to deliver kids to school, feed them free breakfasts (as is being done), and look after reasonable dress code, which our schools end up being forced into doing.
Hello (some) Parents- if your kids are going to public school, or private school for that matter, it is your responsibility to get your kids to school, on time, properly fed and properly clothed. It is not the school district’s, SamTrans or anyone eles’s.

If you would like a snapeshot of CUSD’s financial situation, please have a look here:
http://backtobasicsfund.org/CUSDsituation.html

It’s not pretty, but it is reality. School district busing is just not an option for us right now. We cannot afford it.

The June/06 election got a 37% turnout. Of that 37% voted against supporting a school parcel tax. That’s too bad. The same types who worked against supporting public schools, now appear as whinning about busing in this forun. How ironic. How fake.

I would love to see school busing come back, especially for Cunha and HMBHS… safer for kids, keep them off the Hwy, traffic, pollution issues… less pressure on families. But it is not cheap… in the order of 3-400M annually. Under current constraints, it would mean sacrificing programs, librarians, teachers/AP classes… which is just not acceptable.

So before anyone starts complaining, maybe let’s consider how we can help out our schools some more before ripping at them.
The school board trashing is getting really old. We need to separate issues and focus on boosting our schools!

(Disclaimer- I’m from Canada, and I’m continue to be shocked how public schools are treated here.)

Comment 22
Sat, September 16, 2006 10:18am
Hal Bogner
All my comments

Mr. Skelton,

I certainly understand your assertion that parents must take complete responsibility for their children when you say (in effect) “too bad about busing, or anything else - you must get them to school on time, properly fed, clothed, etc.” 

But I do not understand how you make your case for there being no maneuvering room inside CUSD’s budget for any busing at all (besides, of course, the busing they still provide).  All you have done is to point to a total dollar figure and a comparison with other districts elsewhere.

I also question your certainty that CUSD does not make any judgements about priorities other than simply “provid[ing] quality education.”  Are there no supporting programs at all?

More importantly, I am dismayed by your “bashing” others by complaining about “whiners”, when in fact,  the numerous threads on this subject constantly keep coming back to constructive discussion and cogent information.

And finally, you ought to realize that the CUSD board did discuss including funds for busing in the recent parcel tax.  I was present at the meeting, and one after the other, the first three board members who summarized their positions after a period of wide-ranging discussion - Messrs. Salume, Mosely, and Gardner - all expressed a desire to include it, both because of perceived public demand for it, and because of what they said they saw as a real need.  However, Ms. Schreuers chastised them severely on the subject when her turn came, arguing both that (a) the measure should only address in-the-classroom educational improvement, and (b) the school district was working with others to understand and solve the problem eventually anyway.  She and Dwight Wilson - holdovers from the Ken Jones era - then turned the others away from the idea, and she also rejected John Lynch’s proposal to place a companion measure on the ballot focussed on busing alone.

I suggest that you request a videotape of the meeting from either CUSD or MCTV, if either of them can provide it to you. 

Best,

Hal M. Bogner
Half Moon Bay

Comment 23
Sat, September 16, 2006 10:52am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Dean:

Plenty of busing proponents supported Measure S. I’m one of them.

Many of us begged the district to include busing in the Measure S. The anonymous Measure S political committee chose not to do so. We believe it might well have passed if they had.

In my editorial endorsing S, I clearly stated “I’ve been critical of our school board in the past. If you don’t like the way they’ve been running the district, you’ll get an opportunity to deal with them (or at least three of them) in November. The issue on June 6 is how much money we’re going to give the schools. It is not a referendum on the school board.”

Now that the candidates for school board have been declared, it is very much time for criticizing the board.

Comment 24
Sat, September 16, 2006 12:58pm
Dean Skelton
All my comments

Oh, oh…  the big guns after me now.

Mr. Bogner, I was at that CUSD meeting, and as I recall, you spoke in favor of the parcel tax. (Was that a change of position for you, vis a vis previous parcel tax measures?) So I don’t need the videotape. I also lobbied… actually pleaded, directly with some of the school board members to write a measure that included a guarantee of busing, at least for Cunha, and go at $195 (instead of the $175 that prevailed). I don’t think it’s helpful to break down the play-by-play of that meeting at this point.

My position to include a busing component was argued equally on points of safety for students, and the pure politics of passing the measure. In the end, the issue of keeping down the cost of the measure was decided to be key to secure community support. You may recall previous measure attempts at $250, which I do believe would have restored some busing. Although, I do admit it was not specifically guaranteed in the terms. Once the terms for the June attempt were determined, I got on-side, for the fourth of five parcel tax attempts, and joined the core group of community members that does the grunt work to try to get the measure passed.

The school board is/will always be torn writing these measures.. to include busing or not, the $ amount, exemptions for seniors, reduced rates for vacant land, etc. Everyone will have an opinion. But I think it’s too bad that that the true focus, of raising funds for basic school programs, gets lost in the politics. Make no mistake, this school district is seriously under-funded.

You referred to “maneuvering room inside CUSD’s budget”. Ok, please come to the point. Show me/us the money. Where exactly would you make the cuts in the CUSD budget to bring back busing?
It’s time to be specific now as there are some very tough choices to be made. Again, I want busing, but it has become a luxury for us that we no longer seem to be able to afford.

You referred to my whining comment, and in retrospect, I regret it. I spoke out of frustration, and so thank you for flagging it in the best interests of positive discourse.

On that note, I would specifically like to redirect us to Cheri Parr’s post above. I could not agree with her more. But I’m still stumped as to where the money is going to come from. btw- My understanding is that SamTrans is legally barred from providing school busing.

Barry, I don’t disagree with anything you said. And I especially agree that Measure S may well have passed if it had guaranteed a busing component. But I come back to my basic point. CUSD does not now have the $$‘s to pay for busing.

There will have to be another parcel tax attempt at some point, although it looks hopeless now. When it does, we all need to come together and do it right.

Comment 25
Sat, September 16, 2006 5:09pm
Hal Bogner
All my comments

Mr. Skelton,

I appreciate your good humor.  My apologies for not realizing you were at the meeting at which the CUSD board decided on the parcel tax measure, and BRAVO for speaking in support of including busing.  And I wasn’t suggesting the videotape for the reason of seeing me speak, but rather for the reason of seeing the absolute bull-headedness of the Ken Jones-era board members, Jolanda Schreurs (leader) and Dwight Wilson (follower).  The other three board members really did speak in support of including busing; they ought to review the tape and ask themselves how they got talked out of it by Ms. Schreurs.

And I’ll explain why I disagree with you when you write “I don’t think it’s helpful to break down the play-by-play of that meeting at this point.”  This kind of post-mortem analysis is how we learn; had it been done long ago, CUSD would have had additional funding by now.  At least, that’s what my training as a chess master tells me, because that’s how one reaches that level of proficiency, and the same method applies to anything which can be subjected to analysis and then repeated.  (By the way, does anyone understand why the CUSD board *always* debates the contents of their tax measures at the last possible date?)

I have never opposed school funding, but this is the first time I spoke in support, because the current CUSD board is the first since the 1996 bond issue passed (with a 75% Yes vote on $30 million of funding!) to authorize an achievable path to delivering the long-promised new middle school.

I agree that the state funding criteria are wrong in that they underfund CUSD relative to other districts.  I don’t know how to change things at the state level, but in the mean time, locally, CUSD must work with what it has.

I will defer to people like Cheri Parr and Jonathan Lundell as to how the CUSD budget can be made to fund more busing; they have delved into this.  But certainly, if we grant any validity to the adage “showing up is half the job”, we must ensure that the kids can all show up if we are to have a chance of doing the other half of the job (educating them).  This is a rural area, and 50-100 years of bad (or rather, no) planning at the HMB City and San Mateo County levels has not left us with any local alternatives to car trips the length of Hwy 1 for those beyond walking distance. 

I will raise one budget item where I understand CUSD can save a lot of money - but alas, it could not be spent on operations, and that’s where we are told busing must be paid for.

(to be continued…)

Comment 26
Sat, September 16, 2006 5:10pm
Hal Bogner
All my comments

(continuation of my previous comment)

An SF-based architecture firm which has won awards building schools and public buildings expressed a desire to participate in the process of making proposals to design the new middle school; their first estimate of a budget range was quite a few million below the current numbers Dr. Bayless is saying he will spend.  CUSD board member Roy Salume was unable to get the current board to insist on an open process of bids and selections, because Dr. Bayless long-ago (that is, in the 1990s) selected a firm to design the planned Wavecrest middle school, and he insists on simply sole-sourcing the new Cunha designs from them without bidding.  At that same meeting we both were at, local builder Greg Ward stood up and said the same things about the way CUSD is currently approaching the project.

Are the SF architect’s initial feeling - and Mr. Ward’s initial feeling - correct?  The only way to know whether CUSD is paying a fair price is to use a good process, with publicly stated requirements, open bidding, and public oversight.  I have looked into this enough to believe that the savings would be at least a few million, and perhaps even five or ten million.  I hope it is not too late for the school district to correct this severe error and do things the right way.  I would be glad to help find the way to fix it, if the district would make a commitment to looking for one.

And that being said, how can I possibly take on faith that this district is responsibly managing the operations budget as well as possible in the public interest, either?

I am sorry that Mr. Salume isn’t running for reelection.  I am mystified that Mr. Gardner - who claims expertise as a manager of construction projects including a portion of the Bay Bridge project - is not contributing his expertise to the new Cuha project.

Barry points out that this fall is the time to discuss the CUSD board.  I am sincerly hoping that the electorate continues to bring change to the CUSD board until all of the Ken Jones era members are replaced. 

The faction that has led the CUSD board since the late 1990s - now led by Ms. Schreurs - has simply lost the trust of the supermajority that voted for the $30 million bond in 1996, and through five failed parcel tax votes, they still have not gotten the message.  My heart goes out to the kids who have lost busing, to the kids who could have gone to a new Cunha by now, and to people like Cindi Epps, who worked so hard and so sincerely only to be thwarted because of such a cynical group of people.

Sincerely,

Hal M. Bogner
Half Moon Bay