Now that the school year is underway, parents in the Glen Cove City School District are likely more at ease with the transportation changes. But at the board of education meeting last week held at Robert M. Finley Middle School—just three days prior to the start of school—many parents voiced their distress at the lack of information coming from the district’s transportation office and the need to scramble to find alternative options if their kids are not bused to school.
“We just learned my 10-year-old will not receive a bus,” said a resident of Roosevelt Avenue, who said his son goes to All Saints Regional Catholic School. “We live 1.4 miles away. I am concerned about his safety, especially having to cross Forest Avenue and walk through downtown.”
The board recently reviewed the district’s transportation policy and has become stricter about enforcing it this year.
“The distance in the policy has not always been followed,” said Superintendent Maria Rianna, urging parents with specific concerns to fill out a transportation review request form and return it to her immediately to help rectify any problems.
According to the district’s distance policy, students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade are eligible to receive busing if they live more than 1.0 mile away and sixth- through 12th-graders are eligible if they live more than 1.5 miles away. This is for both public and private school children who live in the district
“All children should have a bus…it is about safety,” said another parent. “We don’t want kids to stay home alone, they shouldn’t walk to school alone.”
Other parents complained about the treatment they received when calling the transportation department for information.
“We apologize for the way the transportation department has been handling the issue,” said board president Richard Maccarone. “This will be taken care of.”
In other board news, three new school administrators were introduced at the meeting and it was mentioned that they are still seeking a facilities director.
Resident Rick Smith suggested they consider hiring from within.
“You should research the people you already have,” said Smith. “You could find someone happy to move up; and if the staff knows they have the opportunity to advance, it would be good for morale.”
Trustee Barrie Dratch asked about the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) scores and requested a presentation on the changes at a future meeting to inform the public. Assistant superintendent for curriculum Dr. Michael Israel said that all teachers received growth scores, despite the number of opt outs. Rianna added that she had recently met with the new education commissioner, who is looking to shorten state assessments, and is hopeful that changes will be made under the new leadership
Karen Ferguson, president of the Glen Cove Teachers Association and a grandmother of two students in the district, said that many certified teachers are working in the district as teacher assistants and have been pulled out as substitutes on occasion.
“I want to see improvements this year,” she said.
“We did increase the sub bank this year and are reaching out to more to insure that doesn’t happen,” said Rianna.
Ferguson also asked for information on the nutrition committee, a new board committee that is currently being formed. The district is seeking applications for any interested parents or community members. Applicants should forward their letters of application by Sept. 16 to: Victoria Galante, assistant superintendent for business, at email@example.com. Information is available on the home page of the district web site.