As a new teacher many years ago, Davenport School Board member Bill Sherwood remembers seeing a student arrive in class one very cold morning with blood running down his neck.

The boy’s earlobes had frozen as he walked to school, and were bleeding as they thawed, the now-retired Sherwood said.

For some students, especially the youngest ones, riding the school bus is a matter of safety and health, Sherwood and others said Monday night as they voted 4-2 against proposed transportation cuts that would have expanded elementary walk zones from 1 1/2 miles to 2 miles, eliminated paid-conditional busing and ended bus rides to babysitters or childcare facilities after school.

Board president Ralph Johanson and member Rich Clewell voted in favor of the proposed cuts. Board member Ken Krumwiede was absent from the meeting.

“When it comes to students, my first thought is always, ‘How do we serve them?’ board member Larry Roberson said. “We don’t serve them by taking things away so they might not get to school or come to school late. There is no way I can look at things that directly affect students when we have not looked at things that do not affect students.”

Board member Nikki DeFauw said she would like to see administration bring back a modified plan to reduce transportation costs, which included some options for parents in place of the proposed cuts.

She and other board members said they would like to see the district continue conversations with the Scott County Family Y and the city of Davenport’s bus system officials to come up with possible alternatives for childcare transportation.

The only community member to speak about the issue Monday was Tonja Scott-Pate of Davenport, who said her 8-year-old granddaughter rides the bus from Jefferson-Edison Elementary School to the Y’s after-school program. She would be afraid to have the child walk all that way on her own, she said.

“And I haven’t been offered the opportunity for an alternative,” Scott-Pate said to applause from the audience.

Clewell said he supports the transportation cuts “reluctantly,” because the district is facing the task of cutting $3 million from its budget for next school year.

“We’re going to have to find ways to do things with less money,” he said. “I think the low-hanging fruit is gone. I don’t think there are going to be any easy decisions as far as staying fiscally accountable in our district.”

However, the vote does not mean the district is done looking at possible transportation cuts, including some of the options mentioned Monday night. Some board members said that if the various proposals were brought forward again in separate motions, they might consider parts of the reduction plan.

(6) comments

racin10

I can't beleive this was even a consideration...really. If the budget requires cuts why would our community leaders start with making the the students(that our are future )pay for rediculous for high end administrators that from my point of view have gotten lazy on our childrens education.The bottom line is had this proposal gone through uncontested, you can bet there would be an increase in pay for such administrators...just something to think about.!

mundsp

Thank you school board for fending off another attack by the administration on those NOT responsible for this fiscal problem. First, the attempted switch back to the traditional schedule was an attempt to get rid of teachers. Then came the busing which was an attack on the kids. At which point are some of you going to begin asking the administration to look in the mirror for budget reductions. The fox is in the henhouse with these budget reduction ideas and we elected you to represent us on that board. It's time you begin asking the tough questions of the leadership structure of this district. There's plenty of waste there that will put the blame squarely where it belongs and force those responsible for these financal troubles to answer for their inadequecies without hurting those the kids.

senor citizen

We all should commend the School Board. As the times changed so did habits and children probably don't always dress as warmly as they should. Having walked to school many years ago our parents dressed us warmly and we took heed. That was then and this now. Also I would guess kids are safer on the bus during good weather as they can get home sooner and not be exposed as long to possible violence.

bailaw
bailaw

Well said. I'm sure we both walked 5 miles to school, uphill each way, in neck deep snow. Maybe those were better times, maybe not. Your point is well taken either way, times have changed.

writing momma, You hit it right on the head. I have no little ones at home but their safety comes before anything.

writingmomma

My hat is off to the school board members that agreed NOT to end busing for our children. It is people like you, that stand in on behalf of our children, that make parents and grandparents feel there are people that still care.
It is hard enough to raise children in such a violent society. But, when it comes to their safety, it is number one in many of our lives. I thank you so much for standing up to those that don't think about whether our children freeze in the winter, are hit by cars, or face any other unsafe condition, such as, child predators.
Our children MUST NOT be placed on a chopping block by those that are SUPPOSE to care for them!
Please remember, it takes a village to raise a child. That very same child that you keep safe, will grow into an adult and may become the doctor or nurse that saves YOUR life!
Again, thank you for CARING!

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