MMSD Misses Notification Date, Will Again Provide Private School Bus Rides

Anita Clark:

The Madison School District said Tuesday it will provide bus rides for children attending private schools this year because it missed a legal deadline to notify families that the service was ending.
Hoping to save about $229,000, the School Board voted last spring to abolish bus routes that carried 208 children to six Catholic schools.
Instead, the district would pay their parents a transportation subsidy of about $450 per student.
The district has been working this summer with the Catholic Diocese of Madison to help it set up an alternative transportation system, but it did not realize there was an Aug. 4 deadline for notifying parents affected by the change, Superintendent Art Rainwater said Tuesday.
“We were so engrossed, it just went by us, ” he said. “The statute is very clear and we did not meet it. ”
Michael Lancaster, superintendent of schools for the diocese, said he ‘s happy that children will be receiving safe rides to school.
“Safety was a huge parental concern and ours as well, ‘ ‘ he said.
The financial effect on the district will be evaluated in October when it deals with “hundreds of pluses and minuses ‘ ‘ in making final budget adjustments after receiving data on enrollment, state aid and other factors, Rainwater said.
“We really don ‘t know until October how this fits in,” he said.

Much more on last spring’s private school busing budget change and commentary.
Perhaps this matter is related to gaining voter support for a 2008 referendum, which was discussed at Monday’s Madison School Board meeting:

Approval of Minutes dated April 30, May 7, May 14, May 22, May 29, June 27, July 16 (two sets), 2007
There are no announcements.
Initial Discussion of Potential 2007-08 Referendum.

Susan Troller:

An oversight by the Madison school district’s administration means that the prayers of some Catholic school parents have been answered.
The school district announced Tuesday that it must continue to provide yellow school bus service for students at six local Catholic schools through the 2007-08 school year because it missed a deadline for notifying parents that there would be a change in transportation policy.
The Madison School Board voted last spring to eliminate busing for parochial school students and instead provide a stipend of $450 per child so parents can pay the cost of transportation themselves. State statutes mandate that public schools must provide transportation to all students in their districts, even those attending private schools.
According to Superintendent Art Rainwater, the district has been working over the summer with the Catholic Diocese of Madison to establish alternative means of getting parochial students to school, and it inadvertently missed the 30-day legal deadline for notifying individual parents that there would be a change in transportation policy.

5 thoughts on “MMSD Misses Notification Date, Will Again Provide Private School Bus Rides”

  1. This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic. This deadline had to have been tickled-how did they miss it? Especially in light of last spring’s “catholic school uproar” and the countles BOE hours spent on the issue. Then again, MMSD is just another governmental beaurocracy, and oversights like this happen all the time in state and local government. Someone should tell Art that the $240K will come out of the budget of the office that forgot to meet the deadline.

  2. They “forgot!” Shades of Steve Martin. Was it ever clear that paying parents was cheaper than the yellow bus routes? Perhaps they were able to determine the cost of paying each family vs. the cost of yellow buses and found the buses were cheaper.

  3. In my opinion, Art didn’t forget. It’s not a fight he wanted to fight his last year, the actual cost savings, once all the parents that hadn’t been reimbursed in the past were reimbursed this year, wasn’t as great as it looked! As I understand it, it’s not even a budget cut he supported! I’ve been in contact with the district several times over the summer about the issue-they KNEW there was a deadline-they CHOSE to deal with it by forgetting so they didn’t have to deal with the headache. So much for having a board to work with the school on budget!

  4. If this is Art’s way of solving a problem he didn’t want to deal with, it is unfortunate. The District is hoping to ask the public to approve a referendum in February, but Madison taxpayers aren’t going to be eager to give money to a district that “loses” money because they can’t manage to remember a deadline. Does anyone else remember the ballot error from a couple of years ago?

  5. An interesting take on the failure to give notice — purposeful neglect. Would any members of the Board have known?
    Anyway, I think one gives the Administration too much credit. Incompetence is the more likely answer.

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