The Monday, September 17 Rushford-Peterson School Board received several complaints from local childcare providers. During the time for public comment, Heidi Halvorson and Chellsey Olson brought forth a number of safety concerns for the children under their care utilizing the district’s bussing service.
According to Halvorson, this year, Bernard Bus Service has begun to drop off students at a designated location rather than at her childcare center, as has been done since 1993. The children range from three to five years of age. “There have been four incidents this year in the first eight days of school,” she said in a statement to the board. “That’s not a very good track record.”
The students wear a sticker designating which child care center they are to be bussed to. However, Halvorson maintains students are being dropped off a block or more away, in an area with no sidewalks. She further added that students have been dropped at the wrong child care location, missed busses which have arrived earlier than scheduled, and have been left with or walked with no supervision.
She suggested the district use one of 17 vehicles registered to the district to bus the children or modify routes to better accommodate the children’s needs. She further suggested the district contract with a different bus company that will comply with drop off specifics. “It is not very good odds. Please can we do something to take care of the safety of these little ones?” she asked.
Olson’s comments were similar, noting five incidents in the first 10 days of school. “I have the same concerns,” she began, before describing the incident of one, young student. “It was his first day of school, his first day at my daycare, and his first day on the bus; that’s not a very good first day of school,” said Olson. “Why is the driver not checking the sticker that’s right on their shirt?”
Olson went on to note that she’d spoken directly to Bernard Bus Service requesting the children be dropped at her center. “I was told that if I told anyone he was accommodating my concerns, he could change it right back. I don’t put up with threats like that. That is not what’s best for the kids.” Olson noted she had not spoken to Halvorson about the concerns.
“That’s five incidents in 10 days; 50%. If you were performing at 50%, I don’t know if you’d have a job very long,” added Olson. “Please keep in mind this company and the service, or lack thereof, when deciding what’s best for the district.”
Superintendent Chuck Ehler indicated he would discuss the matter with Bernard Bus Service and find a workable solution.
In other news, the board has formally approved a policy for the trapshooting team. An issue for several months now, district administration, including Ehler and Athletic Director Dan Bieberdorf, and trap shooting coach Colby Lind, have developed a policy regarding the team, its status, and any funding.
The team will maintain its status as a recognized school event. “The district will assist the trap shooting team participants and coaches in securing donations. We hope to have the volunteer coaches (from the previous year), and others to assist with the program. Through a collaborative and cooperative effort, a positive fund balance can and will be achieved and maintained by following these guidelines,” read the policy.
Participants will pay a $125 fee and an online registration fee of $35. Actual costs to participants will likely be reduced by fundraising. For the state Clay Target