Board Votes Unanimously To Terminate D-49 Bus Service

Hundreds of parents crowded the D-49 school board meeting Thursday for a chance to voice their concerns about ending bus services for their kids next year. The board, however, voted unanimously to terminate bus services for students.

So many people showed up to the meeting that they could not fit into room, or the building. In fact, the room was over fire code capacity and the crowd was so loud and angry that the El Paso County Sheriff's Office was called to the scene for crowd control. Soon after the vote was taken, the president of the board was forced to adjoin the meeting at the command of the fire marshal.

The crowd did nothing, however, to deter the board members of D-49 who voted unanimously to end bus transportation beginning the 2011–2012 school year.

Falcon School Board President Dave Martin says the district simply can't afford to pay for bus services. The state only gives then $600,000 for transportation, when they have a $3.6 million transportation budget.

"Our budget keeps decreasing and our expenses keep going up and our focus is on the classroom," said Martin.

Parents within the district told 11 News they received word about the board's planned actions through a note given to their children by district bus drivers.

Rod Klock, whose son rides a bus to school says “It seems like they're just trying to push this through without having a big old fight about it. If the parents in D-49 don't stand up and fight for this, they're going have to take their kids to school themselves next year."

Kids will still be bused as normal for the rest of this school year. The board has asked the Transportation Dept. to come up with alternatives for the 2011-2012 school year. Proposals will be heard in March. Some suggestions include transferring transportation services to an outside company, or introducing a rider fee to cover the costs.

"The objective is to put it back to the public and say, we can't keep it the same,” said board member Andy Holloman. “We have to change and we're looking for that feedback."

Some districts in Denver, such as Douglas County have had to implement a rider fee to offset costs. Academy District 20 has a committee that is studying the issue right now.

"It is simple. The question is should we charge a fee and if so, how much," said Karin Reynolds, D-20 Assistant Superintendent for Learning Services.

The board asked the district's Transportation Division to listen to public input and bring alternate proposals back before the D-49 board by the end of March.

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  • by outside looking in Location: Falcon on Jan 18, 2011 at 07:01 PM
    yes, things need to change but that needs to be from the top up not bottom up. as for the comments by Jeff yes one of the ways to cut down is for the Director, and Asst. Director of Trans to give up their district vehicle. they can take them home on the evenings of of potential bad weather. that would eliminate fuel, insurance and so on. As for the other there are other cuts that could be made in the transportation admin first and foremost before any of the drivers or mechanics have to give up any more money. as that happens the parents/voters need to ban together to get rid of this board, let them know that they cannot be bullied and this behavior is not acceptable at all.
  • by in the Know Location: Falcon on Jan 18, 2011 at 06:55 PM
  • by driver Location: colo.springs on Jan 18, 2011 at 05:36 PM
    Thank you to Cindy and Mike in the transportation department for driving around at 3:00 am in the morning to check the safety of our roads when we have a bad snow storm .To assure the safety of staff and students in this district. To the mechanics, relief drivers and dispatch for coming in at 4:30 am to get the buses started in - degrees weather! I am so proud to work with such an amazing group of people
  • by Dreamweaver Location: colorado springs on Jan 18, 2011 at 05:04 PM
    What about a 4 day work week like other districts do? This would save large amount of money in a year. How about each department come up with ideas to save in there own departments instead of just leaving it on the bus department? Are you willing to pay extra for your health insurance, take a small pay cut? As for you Mr. Jeff I believe several of us know who you are. how dare you make nausty comments! Get a Life!! If thats possible. You sure do not have a problem showing up at the end of the year when we employees donate our own food to have an end of year bbq. You are not welcome stay away!
  • by mama Location: stetson hill on Jan 16, 2011 at 01:17 PM
    I am seeing a lot of complaining and things we would like to do, but who is volunteering to start up the committees needed to get it done? Check to rent the gyms out at the schools. The media will get the information out to parents to get to neighborhood meetings to find out what we want - fee for service or contract company? Doesn't sound like we have much of an option. We need to do something fast, March is almost hear. How do we get a committee started?? We need leadership, someone or someones that know how to make this happen. I certainly do not know how. Recalling the board members takes time to accomplish, but it will not stop what they have already started. This is only the start of cuts. It will take years to get not only d49 but the state to get back on track.
  • by Correction Location: Falcon on Jan 16, 2011 at 07:47 AM
    One correction on teacher’s pay, we are not paid for twelve months and only work nine. We are paid for nine months but have our pay divided into twelve months so we have a check during the summer. The only time I work eight hours a day is during the two week breaks we get and that time is catching up with all the other paper work we need to do for the district. One last note, we need this board and the many superintendents to look up the words transparency and secrecy. These are not interchangeable and should not be spoken within the same sentence. You want help from the community? Try not lying or hiding facts, let us know what is going on before the cliff shows up without a way down.
  • by Concerned Location: Falcon on Jan 16, 2011 at 07:45 AM
    The biggest issue I had with this whole fiasco was nobody knew anything about the vote until two days prior. The board said to make sure we read the agenda on the web site. I did and I do frequently. This vote was added at the last minute prior to the meeting. If not for my children telling me about this from the bus driver I would never have known about the transportation issue. I would like to know how the children will walk to the new Falcon high school, the one in the middle of the prairie. How about the ones that will attempt to run across four lanes of highway 24? Why also would anyone vote to eliminate a service without options in place? I think all employees at district 49 have done their part to sacrifice to keep services but the board keeps spending more than we have. Nobody has had a raise in three years yet we keep coming to work every day for the children. Why do we need all these superintendents? We will now have five and at what pay. When is enough, enough?
  • by Carol on Jan 15, 2011 at 08:55 PM
    a big THANK YOU to our bus drivers, this was one very bold move!! how very scary, now we're having 2 liars on the board who do nothing but try to deceive us, the public. How much more damage will Dave Martin do to the district before his term will finally be over in November? and too bad Chris Wright still has 3 more years to do his work.... But what's even worse is that those other 3 board members are sheep who don't pay attention to what is really going on. Remember last summer?? we the parents need to stand together again!!!
  • by bus driver 2 Location: falcon on Jan 15, 2011 at 08:25 PM here is the url where you can find the 2010/2011 budget plans..i have an idea get rid of the spokeswoman, she is an idiot. her information is on page 61 of the proposed plan. let dr. sheppey talk to the press with the wool they are trying to pull over the eyes of the public. ask why the admin offices and board of directors are going to an Apple computer system, what is wrong with the old one? outsourced IT dept can work on PCs also..0300 PURCHASED PROF & TECH SVCS $378,673 $287,128 $457,128 $434,272 $254,643 for the prices to the above what is this money spent on for the BOE..this is on page 42 of the above budget plans. i know it was not spent where it should have been.
  • by bus driver on Jan 15, 2011 at 06:30 PM
    @bus driver 2, BRAVO! We as bus drivers might be on the bottom of the pay scale, but if it wasn't for us drivers handing out those flyers to our students the parents would have had no idea this was going on at that meeting. We were threatened with discipline and the possibility of being fired by the board for doing so. I do not regret handing them out and I know that all the other drivers feel the same way. We did what was right by our students and their parents. If the Board had been honest and told the parents months ago about this problem it might not have had to come down to this. D-49 bus drivers will always do what is right for our students.
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