Opinion: One step at a time
The traffic mess, numerous inconveniences and myriad of consequences due to the closure of Highway 1 have left all of us on the Coastside under a shadow of malaise.
But we need to separate our issues.
In reading various comments posted recently, it is obvious that people are looking for someplace to direct their understandable frustrations. Unfortunately, some people are misdirecting their frustrations at the Cabrillo Unified School District.
Busing has always been an important issue to the CUSD. In fact, the $250 parcel tax that lost by a very slight margin in 2003 would have indeed restored full busing. The closure of Highway 1 may highlight the need for student transportation; however, that is not what Measure S, the $175 school parcel tax on the June ballot, is about.
The top priority of our school district - first and foremost - is to provide a high quality education to the children and young people of our community. Measure S funds are dedicated solely to the mission of improving student academic achievement and to help our kids meet and exceed academic standards. (To learn more about Measure S, visit www.pro-school.org ) .
Had we all known in early March when the measure had to be filed with the county in order to make it onto the June ballot that Devil’s Slide would go out, I might guess that the school district could have felt comfortable asking the community to approve a significantly higher parcel tax - more in the area of $290 - to restore full busing in addition to providing the resources needed to improve academic achievement. But without the benefit of precognition or a crystal ball, the school board chose to deal with its most important mission first and ask voters to approve a more modest dollar figure.
When Devil’s Slide did wreak its havoc, the school district responded immediately to the road closure. That first Monday afternoon, Superintendent John Bayless and the principals met to develop solutions.
The result? Throughout the duration of the closure, the school district will operate buses for Cunha Middle School students and has changed school start times in the morning to reduce traffic during commute hours. Additionally, supervised child care will be provided at all elementary schools beginning at 6:30 AM so that commuting parents can bring their children to school as early as necessary.
Regardless of the status of Highway 1, however, the overall transportation needs of our community extend much further than student transportation. Recognizing this - and well before the road was closed - the school board took a proactive approach to improve local transportation by initiating an active partnership with San Mateo County, SAMTRANS, the City of Half Moon Bay and the Coastside Opportunity Center to assess overall transportation needs and develop the best solution.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to deal with road closures; our local schools would have the funding they need to provide the kind of education we all want for our community’s kids; and of course we would have school buses.
We all know that we don’t live in a perfect world. But by pulling together to do the best we can to solve one problem at a time, the closer we’ll be to that world.