Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Stay tuned!

Stay tuned to Random Thoughts on TPS, we are about to begin updating things here. Many may not like what we have to say, but the future of our children's education depends on it! Would you sit back and pretend you did not know what was going on in order to save your child from being a target or would you stand up and be a voice so that all the children received the education they are legally obligated to receive? It is not an easy position to be in, be we feel that the future of all children is worth far more than money!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lack of communication flows over to transportation

As I stated in the previous post, I am back to dealing with the Toledo Public School system. For the most part there have been no problems other than the typical ones that are to be expected. I still find it very frustrating that the schools do not communicate well with the parents and have been told time and time again that my child is just going through a stage and it will pass. Although I do not like blanket type answers, I have grown used to them so they no longer bother me the way they used to.

But this post is not about the schools or their inability to communicate, it is about the transportation department and how their lack of communication and refusal to change this has gone past the point of being ridiculous.

We have gone through several bus changes since last fall. This is due partially to a move to a new home, but for the most part because of changes made by the transportation department.

When we moved, although we provided legal documentation to the school in a timely manner, it took them almost two weeks before they finally changed my childs bus pick up and drop off to our new address. During the two weeks of waiting we would have to take our child to our old address to be picked up in the morning and then go back to the old address in the afternoon to get them off the bus. For the most part it was not a problem but if something would have happened and I would not have been able to get to our old address on time in the afternoons there would have been nowhere for my child to go to seek shelter from bad weather or from being harmed if a person who meant to harm my child were nearby. They did eventually get things straightened out so that the bus was coming to our new address.

But shortly after they got that part straightened out my childs regular driver went on a leave, putting a substitute driver on the route. The first morning with the substitute driver we were standing at the end of the drive only for the bus to drive right past with no indication that they were slowing down or even stopping, however, they did stop at the very next house up the road. I called the transportation department and was told about the substitute driver, given an apology and assured that the bus would stop the next day, but was requested to take my child to school, which I did. The next morning brought the same results; no indication of slowing down or stopping from the bus even though my child was waiting at the end of the drive. Once again, I called transportation, but this time I was told that they actually had no record for my child to be picked up or dropped off at our new address, and after entering the name I was told that they actually had a pick up/drop off registered for my child back at our old address.

We did eventually get that straightened out, but it was not the end of the stress and frustrations. My childs bus pick up time in the morning most recently has varied from them being picked up one day at 7:20 AM to being picked up the next day at 6:58 AM. After a lengthy conversation with someone at the transportation department yesterday I discovered that my childs bus route has once again been split which has altered the morning pick up time by more than 20 minutes, but I received no advanced warning or notice of the changes. When I came right out and asked if it were possible to receive notification of these types of changes I was told by the person on the other end of the line that they do not do that.

So once again we have a division of Toledo Public Schools that makes changes or decisions that alter things but they are not willing to communicate this information to the people that it affects. If we lived in town this might not be that bad of a thing, but we are actually out in the country and 20 or more minutes from my childs school, almost to the furthest point possible away from this schools boundaries. So walking or riding a bicycle to school when the bus comes 20 or more minutes earlier than expected and you miss it is not an option. And I am not always home when this child is getting on the bus, so if I am already gone for the day this child has no way of getting to school unless I turn around and come all the way back home and take them, making me late for where ever it was that I needed to go.

Toledo Public Schools has an automated system in place that calls parents with announcements pertaining to their childs school, what would be so difficult about using that same system to place phone calls alerting parents to changes in their childs bus routes? If the automated system can be used to call the parents of children at a specific school, why can it not be used to contact the parents of children that ride specific bus routes?

The careless attitude of the transportation department is in serious need of an overhaul ASAP! They feel that it is completely acceptable to inconvenience parents by altering their students bus route with no notice or warning. Yet I am certain that if it were not possible for a student who has missed their bus because of an unknown bus route alteration to get to school, the absence would go against the student when in fact it is not the students fault.

One year later

Obviously I have not been here to post or update in quite some time. For those of you that have visited regularly, I do apologize. There just has not been anything that I have wanted talk about as far as TPS goes. I had a period of time that I did not have to deal with TPS, but it was short lived.

As you already know Bill Harner is not the permanent TPS Superintendant, he turned it down and John Foley was given the contract and position. I do think that this was a smart move for TPS!

Debra Barnett stepped down from the school board and Jack Ford was appointed to fill her seat until the next election in November. Although Mr. Ford stated he had no intention of actually running for the seat for a 4 year term, he did end up running as well as Lisa Sobecki, Cheryl Catlin, Ted Jobe, Harold Mosley, and Chris Myers. In November Jack Ford and Lisa Sobeki were chosen by the voters to 4 year terms on the school board to replace the seats that were vacated by Ms. Barnett and Larry Sykes.

We have also recently heard that Robert Torres is stepping down from the TPS school board because of his acceptance of a job offer in another town. We'll soon find out the names of the applicants to be considered for appointment to his seat on the school board.

From my perspective things at TPS have drastically calmed down in the past year. I will not pinpoint the changes on any specific event because I feel that they have happened because of a combination of things. Many feel that the fact that Mr. Sykes is no longer a member of the school board is the main reason for the change, others feel that the early addition of Mr. Ford to fill Ms. Barnett's seat have been the biggest reason for the change. I do not know why the changes have happened, but I do know that I will not complain. For the first time in a very long time it feels as if things for TPS and the school board are on the right track! Lets just hope it stays that way!

My next post will be a little less nice, but not at all related to the school board!