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Poll: How Early Is Too Early for Students?

South Huntington bus costs could mean some students would start class at 7 a.m.

Transportation costs are on the table as South Huntington school district officials prepare next year's budget.

One of the options the district is considering is a major rescheduling of classes that would limit the number of buses required at any given time by stretching out the hours of transportation.

Under one plan, and Silas Wood students might arrive as early as 6:55 a.m. and leave at 1:50 p.m., while Birchwood and Maplewood students would arrive at 9:40 a.m. and leave at 4:10 p.m.

Currently, the earliest arrivals occur at 7:25 a.m., at , and the last departure is at 3:35 p.m. from Birchwood and Maplewood.

The district expects to spend $8,159,596 on transportation for the coming year.

What do you think is a reasonable schedule for students? And are there better ways to cut transportation costs? Vote in our poll and tell us in the comments.

Brian March 20, 2012 at 10:28 PM
South Huntington BOE: Bullies of Education
Jim R. March 21, 2012 at 12:55 AM
If you think this is bad, they sent out letters to 14 teachers in Birchwood that their jobs' are on the line. It's ok, class sizes of 35 are fine in elementary school. STOP KADEN AND THE CRONIES!!! THEY WILL DESTROY SHUFSD!!!!
joey March 21, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Hmmm..wonder which one's. Had a wonderful experience at Birchwood with my child. We all must realize that the teacher salaries are out of control and unless as a group they stop these outrageous pensions/salaries and increases each year more teachers will find themselves without a job. The main $$$ we are paying is for teachers/admins.
Barbara Bauyer March 21, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Not true ...do your homework before you make a comment.
Kathy March 21, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Barbara...what are you referring to? What are you saying is not true?
Barbara Bauyer March 21, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Why don't you all run for the board of Ed...since you have such great ideas! We can then Get rid of the big bully KADEN and hopefully CUOMO!!! Kaden has been BOE president way too long!! Voicing your opinions on here doesn't get you anywhere!!
Barbara Bauyer March 21, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Kathy...im referring to Joey's last comment.
joey March 21, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Hey Barbara not for nothing where else can people speak in the community. The Patch does an AWESOME job covering your local issues. If not for the patch no other outlet is covering the school budget in detail. We are frustrated in paying high taxes and never seeing any action. We go to meetings but generally the same things happen. Its great we have a place to discuss. The Patch asked our opinion and we have a RIGHT to speak it. We are concerned for our kids and country. If we can get new Board members great but it takes time. Let's go out and vote come May 15!
Kathy March 21, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Barbara...so you are saying that the salaries and pensions of teachers are not too high? and that most of our school tax dollars do not go to teachers/admins?
joey March 21, 2012 at 07:11 PM
The group I am referring to is the UNIONS. They can agree to giveback as well upon negotiations. The new contract is coming up. They are doing this to their own members by continuing to get increases that out pace the private sector. We as a group of taxpayers have to stay informed and this online local publication does just that. Check out seethroughny.net download to a spreadsheet the south huntington district salaries and increases over the past 4 years and anayze the numbers you will be amazed.
Kirstin March 21, 2012 at 07:17 PM
In yesterday's Newsday there was an article writtem by Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz called "How much sleep do kids need?" Some interesting facts were presented in the article such as 10 yr olds do better on tests with 9 - 9.5 hrs of sleep; 12 yr olds do best with 8.3-8.4hrs of sleep; and 16-18 yr olds do better on about 7 hours. So much for Dr. Shea's claim that the bus hours need to be changed because "studies have shown that high school students need more sleep than younger children"...In addition, has it dawned on the BOE that many of these same high schoolers will be attending college and they may even have an early class or two in their schedules??? And what about the future when they may find themselves on the 6am train to the City to get to work at 9am??? I think it's time for a reality check...
Kathy March 21, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Look...study results change based on a variety of circumstances. These people use whatever study suits their purpose at any given time.
joey March 21, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Rachel all we're saying is if they are driving to school anyway those kids have opted out yet the school needs to keep a seat on the bus for them. I think a rational approach should be to analyze who needs to use and want the bus transport. If they need the bus than its there.
joey March 21, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Exactly. Someday those high school students will be in the working world getting up early. I think if this plan goes through you may see State test scores drop and the district will be scratching their head's wondering why.
joey March 21, 2012 at 07:31 PM
@kathy walked out of Birchwood yesterday and heard other parents talking about the budget and one actually said pensions who gets pensions anymore. The community is awake and listening and feeling strangled by taxes.
Concerned SHParent March 21, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I am not disagreeing with any comments here, and I guess its fine to have a place to vent, but how unproductive. Bring your ideas to the forefront, go to the meetings, build consensus, thats how things get done. One thing that most people need to understand, some things just arent possible, and when you try to make decisions that are in the best interests of the students and community, opinions vary widely. So whose opinion is best, obviously our own and anyone that agrees with us, but that just isn't logical. When the BOE asks for help, has working sessions, we have an opportunity to voice our opinion and make suggestions. You cannot sit on your hands, mouth shut and wonder why were those decisions made, someone has to make decisions, you may agree or disagree, but someone is willing to make those hard decisions that they believe are in the best interests of our students and community. Come with a solution, a viable solution that will work within the current climate we are trying to weather. At least if you participate in the process you will understand how and why decisions are made. I truly wish that the solutions were as easy to implement as you all think. Fact, budgets are getting slashed, there is a property tax cap in place, the community votes, 1000 people have differing agendas and ideas, unions have a stranglehold on us, weigh extracurriculars, who should get busing, sports, et.. GO figure it out, easy huh.
joey March 21, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Concerned SHParent...Agreed nothing is a perfect and many do attend and are talking amongst themselves, believe me. Tonight many more will show up I am sure. The Mommy network works very fast to get the message out. This is a place to comment and exchange thoughts and clearly shows the frustration. I believe if you look at this small poll the Patch created most overwhelming don't like the fact that young kids are getting up very early for class or ask to cut something else. Sometimes the best interest of the children don't seem to be in play. The start times alone suggest that.
joey March 22, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Update from last nights meeting. A problem arose in Version B of the time changes that cut hours to school by 15 minutes so the district chose to present only A as the time shift with a savings of $448,239. Huntington Coach Rep was there with the $$ numbers presented to the district to outsource and it came to approx 1 million $$ savings to the district. A presentation slide was removed from the meeting last night as the district numbers are all wrong on the transportation costs for in-house vs.outsourcing.
Kirstin March 22, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Makes it a little difficult to have an informed opinion when the data is faulty to begin with?!?!?!? Wonder who came up with the numbers that were all wrong and what their salary is...wonder how long that individual would survive in the real corporate world when a mistake like that would affect share price, company profits etc. If memory serves me, seems like the BOE had a similar issue with figures being incorrect last year...will they ever learn???!!!
joey March 22, 2012 at 02:20 PM
@kirstin unfortunately no. In the private sector you lose your job and the company goes out of business. In the public sector they say oops and ask for more. The district spent a lot of money (millions) on the bus depot (ask the Silaswood association) so they are stuck in a corner to prove it was worth it when all along the numbers were misleading. Many asked questions last night on numbers and the feeling was overconfident on from the presenters. Time schedules were wrong and removed, bus transportation numbers not reviewed, the Silaswood closing only saving us $267,000 was questioned by the audience even the Union leader of teachers was a bit combative with the district on the 1.8 million in step increases.
Kathy March 22, 2012 at 04:40 PM
UPDATE ON THE HUNTINGTON COACH BUS OFFER: Huntington Coach has presented the school district with a proposal to oursource all of their busing needs to them at a savings of over $1,000,000 per year while keeping the current bus schedule. No going to school in the dark! The school district bus drivers' contracts are being negotiated now, so there is no contract to breach with them. Huntington Coach will offer jobs to all qualified existing SHUFSD bus drivers and will also lease the bus depot from SHUFSD. The school district can sell their buses for additional savings. The school district seems reluctant to do this because they claim that legally and contractually they cannot privatize the buses. When asked to cite the specific law, they were unable to. Huntington Coach has cited examples of other school districts that have privatized. It will not be a piece of cake, but for over $1,000,000 savings per year, it's well worth the hassle. PS...this is not union busting as Huntington Coach drivers are also unionized. Approximately 1/2 of the current bus routes are outsourced to Huntington Coach. The district's buses had an average 11.28% DOT Vehicle Safety Inspection failure rate over the last 5 years, while Huntington Coach's failure rate was less than 1% every year for more than 12 years straight. For more info contact info@huntingtoncoach.com Contact the BOE and Dr. Shea to voice your opinion.
sue March 23, 2012 at 11:42 PM
for the last 2 years the district had to outsource the bus safety inspections to another company. it was a little unusual that the buses would leave southhuntington in perfect working order with no issues and then things that were deliberately checked and fine would then fail when DOT came to check them since they have been back in the district with the new transportation building - they have not failed any of them. As far as having huntington coach drive my children i would not in the last 6 years 2 of their drivers have been arrested and convicted of either child pornography or child molestation. this can be checked by searching newsday,
Kathy March 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM
More than half of South Huntington's routes are already outsourced to Huntington Coach. So are you telling me that, given this information, the school district is knowingly putting the kids at risk?
sue March 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM
it's not more thatn 1/2 the buses - oakwood countrywood birchwood and maplewood are all south huntington buses with another 20 buses approx going between silas stimson and whitman.. the rest are taken care of by huntington coach which is about 20 to 25 runs, the other item that mr clifford hasn't addressed anyweher is the fuel surcharge that they pass on to the district when fuel prices increase- we have to pay their additional fee at their retail with tax on it , while south huntington pays for a discounted rate thru the state and their is no tax on it at all . so you need to compare apples to oranges. huntington coach also is their to make money. kevin clifford is not doing this out of his good hearted nature.
sue March 24, 2012 at 12:34 AM
another thing on outsourcing the buses you lose control over who is driving your child. i don't believe they are knowingly putting the kids at risk but they see the district drivers every day several times a day , they don't see the drivers from huntington coach until there is a problem, so where was mister clifford on those occasions?
joey March 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM
It is cheaper to outsource but the big concern regarding this article is why put Birchwood 3,4, and 5 graders on a bus at 6:20-6:30 am when its dark outside. That is an insane time for such young children. I have spoken to moms in Huntington and they couldn't believe it. Also go drop off at 7am in the morning in front of Birchwood and ask the crossing guard if she has the proper lighting equipment to be seen; the street lights are pretty sparse. Just today in nice bright weather my daughter had to wait as the guard held her back on the sidewalk because a car came around wolf hill going pretty fast and she did not know if he was going to stop. I am hoping for the safety of the children they drop this issue.
joey March 24, 2012 at 12:52 AM
To add the Board made a comment the other night at the meeting that they reviewed the early morning schedules a few years ago and voted it down as it was deemed unsafe. Did the issue get any safer a few years later?????
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 02:24 AM
From what I understand, Huntington Coach does 75 routes and the district does 70 routes,and Huntington Coach had to fill in for district routes an additional 475 times in the 2010-2011 school year. As for the fuel, the school district purchases it from Huntington Coach but they only charge for fuel from the first bus stop to the last drop off, in other words, whenever there are kids on the bus. With the district buses, they pay for all the fuel. I believe that the district and Huntington Coach are in agreement with the numbers now and a complete privitization means over a $1,000,000 savings per year to the district, plus whatever they get for selling their buses, plus the ongoing lease income for the bus depot. As for Huntington Coach making money, well, of course they're in it to make money, that's how things work in our country. That's how most of us live, we work for money. In addition, the school district is supposed to be a good steward of our money, which they are not doing it this case. They are spending over $1,000,000 more than they have to for buses and instead are choosing to cut things that directly affect the kids. The school district is supposed to be in the business of educating, not busing.
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 02:28 AM
There are bad apples throughout society. When I googled your claim of huntington coach drivers being arrested, I found an article about a south huntington district driver being arrested for rape, so there are no guarantees that any of these people are not going to commit crimes. Everyone must be vigilant at all times to protect our kids. When my son was in school, he never took the bus. I drove him and picked him up every single day until he could drive himself because I didn't trust some stranger with his life. As for the drivers...Huntington Coach will offer any qualified driver a job with their company, so chances are the children will have the same driver and nothing will change.
Kathy March 24, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Also Sue, there is another benefit to all this. If you have a district driver that you don't like for whatever reason, it would be extremely difficult to get rid of him/her due to the union. But if you outsource the busing, the district can just tell Huntington Coach they don't want any particular driver and they will take them off your route. You cannot do that with a district driver unless they commit a serious crime or something.

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