I attended the board meeting this week fully intending to ask the board to consider a free month of busing for every Beaumont Unified student. I knew the Assistant Superintendent of Business, Mr. Elatar, had prepared a report on the status of the busing service offered by the district. I decided to listen to his report and the responses from the board before submitting a request.
I found Mr. Elatar's report to be consistent with what I've reported. I wasn't surprised to hear his presentation slanted towards the eventual elimination of the transportation at the elementary level. I also wasn't surprised to hear rhe usual board members providing input to support the elimination of the service. However, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Mr. Elatar offer some solutions and a plan to increase rider-ship rates and fix the current program. I was also encouraged to hear him agree to a request from Mrs. Poulter to include parents in the planning of the Brookside and Tournament Hills parking lot redesigns.
I believe Mr. Elatar understands transportation could be a solution to our traffic problems. I also feel Mr. Elatar believes transportation won't survive the next round of budget cuts. He understands the current situation is resulting in much higher costs for parents driving their kids to school every morning but he is still of the mindset that if transportation is unable to pay for itself, it is a losing program and will be one of the first to be cut.
As an outsider, it is interesting to watch Mr. Elatar and the administration struggle with the current public school culture. I hope, for our kids' future, they will eventually be able to break away from the culture and begin to think outside the box.
Transportation is a service to the community which will never pay for itself. All the analysis and assumptions administrators like Mr. Elatar make, will never provide a true test of the value of busing to the families in Beaumont. This is why I am submitting my request today asking the board to consider a pilot program of free busing for one month.
I know there are many Beaumontians who were very disappointed when the first round of transportation cuts were made, now here's a chance for them to be heard and really make a difference. The allocation formula the State of California uses to determine where transportation funding is distributed requires a district to have provided transportation services in the previous year to qualify for any funds. This means once busing is eliminated, it will never be brought back...never.
If the board considers the pilot program, they need to hear how many others agree with me. If the pilot program is given a chance, we need to encourage families to support such a valuable service. With the right show of support, we really can make a difference.