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UPDATED:Anonymous Flyer Tells Parents Not to Believe Lies on Busing Issue

Board addresses inaccuracies on flyer placed throughout the community.

The Kings Park Board of Education continued to look into the issue of contracted busing and addressed a flyer placed around the community during homecoming week that said District Superintendent Susan Agruso was taking steps to get rid of the current busing system and that the community should not believe the lies that were being presented.

Click here to read the flyer.

"If we are going to have a conversation about busing consultants there are some things that are mentioned in this notice that are incorrect so let's clear them up before we go forward," said board president Bill Motherway.

Motherway read the letter at Tuesday evening's meeting saying the flyer was not accurate and that the review of the busing system came at the request of a resident, not Agruso and the review had the support of the board.

"That is a lie and I can tell you why. We are looking at a busing consultant because we were asked to by a resident with the support of this board," said Motherway.

 “We are looking to review our costs,” said board vice president Marie Goldstein. “This is not something where the decision has been made.”

The board did agree, at the Tuesday evening meetng, to allow Agruso to search for a consultant who would be willing to look at existing data from a report that investigated the benefits and challenges of contracted busing system seven years ago.

Members of the board said that much of the data that was provided by a consulting firm back in 2004 is still useful information today. The board agreed, however, that the financial data provided in the report would have to be run again, citing changing numbers in school aid, enrollment and school budgets.

“The data is seven years old and not applicable,” said Agruso. “The report has some value but is not sufficient to make a decision at this time,” she said.

According to Agruso, the firm that did the 2004 report was not willing to update the data in the findings and said she would like to be given time to find a company that would.

 “The decision is to investigate whether or not a company is willing to go ahead and do the analysis,” said board trustee Steve Weber in reference to finding a consulting firm willing re-evaluate the numbers, but not the entire report.

Board trustee Tom Locascio asked the board to take a harder look at the 2004 report and its findings.

“I don’t know to what extent we have even reviewed what has been recommended,” said Locascio.

The 2004 report was not available for the Tuesday evening meeting, but the board said that it will be made available on the district website.

UPDATE: Click here to view the 2004 report.

“There are a lot of recommendations that have not been used or utilized in this district so let’s look at that and let’s look at the numbers because the numbers have to be updated," said Motherway.

The board continued to receive opposition from members of the transportation department who believe it is not in the best interest of the district or its students to switch to contractual busing.

Mechanic Dave Guichard relayed a story to the board regarding the homecoming pep rally where 90 students needed to be bused from the middle school to the high school and in an apparent oversight, busing had not been scheduled.

“Bus drivers returned to the school. Within five minutes every available bus driver returned to the district. Within five minutes we had 90 students transported safely. You have a contractor in here that doesn’t happen. This is what we do. It happens every day,” said Guichard

KingsParkKid November 02, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Mr. Motherway needs to look up the defenition of the word "conversation".....At meetings he is rude, condescending and belittles anyone who opposes what he says or thinks. Mrs. Goldstein needs to take a time out to recognize that this is a MAJOR issue for the Kings Park Taxpayers, Their Children and The Employees of the bus garage in KPCSD where 90% of them reside in this very community. The flyer may have been inaccurate but the bottom line is these loyal people are fighting for their livelihood and everything they have worked for throughout the years. There are MANY more negatives than positive reasons looking into contract busing. If 'SAFETY' is the 'most important thing' for our children, as the BOE repeatedly states, then looking into this should not even be an option. As a mother of 4 children I feel very strongly about putting my babies on a bus with a stranger. And that is exactly what the new drivers will be. Research the HORROR stories of contract busing in other districts. Other districts that did follow through with contract busing are 'sorry they did and regret the millions of dollars they have cost the community to buy back their buses and drivers'. I urge KINGS PARK TAXPAYERS to do their research.
Dan Warne November 03, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Operating a school district is like operating a business. The District needs to explore all areas for possible savings. The employees were approached about reducing costs and the reply was "sacrifice is for suckers-let somebody else pay!". That somebody else is you the taxpayer. That letter was nothing more than a self serving promotion for those employees. Try and negotiate a civil service contract- it's mind boggling with all the "past practices". So to those who complain, remember the 2% cap is now in effect, and all the board is trying to do is control costs in all areas. If the drivers care about the kids, then approach the board with constructive cost saving ideas, they'll listen.
Maureen Rossi November 03, 2011 at 02:03 AM
Hey Guys as someone who ran for BOE (and lost) and as someone who covered education and various education law with a big LI weekly, running a district is enormously complex. Lets keep our eyes on the prize and put principles above personalities. Let's rise above using names or blames and see if we can't work together. Maybe the district won't contract out - maybe they will but the employees will hold their salaries and pensions - let's work together to create a system that represents the people's wishes. My firmest belief has always been, you can't educate the kids unless you get them there safely - we all know our bus personnel has done that consistenly for decades. That's invaulable! Hats off to all bus drivers but hats off to BOE members who give countless hours without pay to work for our kids and the taxpayers. Let us not be devided!
KingsParkKid November 03, 2011 at 02:44 AM
Dan, i do not disagree with you. this is probably all just a 'game' to come to some new contract agreement.. in this economy, unfortunatly, someone has to sacrafice something. it is better than the alternative, which WILL be hurting our children and themselves (employees of bus garage). Maureen, i do not disagree with you about 'priciples above personalities' but HOW can anyone come to any agreement, learn, ask questions, voice their opinion or just comment with negative, intimidating response in return?? This probably should NOT have been addressed to the public until contract talks were in motion. I understand it is 'discussion' but like i said, as a mother of 4 kids, it scares me to even think of them on the bus with strangers. From what I researched, the LONG TERM results are NEGATIVE....
christine November 03, 2011 at 12:55 PM
I take comfort in knowing my kids bus drivers and they have always gotten them to school safely!!! This is a small town and everyone knows each other that's what's great about our neighbors and friends driving our kids. Let's see if we can come up with another plan rather than contracting out the buses.
Dan Warne November 03, 2011 at 01:24 PM
All this is, is an attempt get the union and district to sit down and discuss the issues- contracting out, past practices. Those are two tough issues, and you shouldn't negotiate them in public. There will be give an take on both sides of the issues, but they should come to a resolution that addresses both issues. You know the Board is aware of the concerns by parents.
HARVEY LEVINE November 03, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Dear Dan, Your comments on the " reply from the employees" is totally off base. I've been a bus driver for 12 years and have lived in the community for 18 years as most of the other drivers do. We also have drivers that have been here over 30 years. That statement was NOT made by the drivers. We are "that somebody else" your talking about in that statement. We also pay the taxes and patronize this community that we live & work in. "If the drivers care about the kids" statement, you must be kidding, how about most of the drivers kids attend or have attended this school district, my son graduated from the high school last year. Reducing costs you mention, 22 drivers have lost there 8 hour positions, income cut by 25% down to 6 hour positions, & no overtime available anymore, which is basically now a part time job with the same expenses that still has to be covered. I would appreciate it if the next time you post a comment, please make sure what your writing is accurate & not like your previous comment.
kper November 03, 2011 at 07:54 PM
first and foremost that mechanic deserves a formal apology from Mr. Motherway he did not deserve that remark, he is trying to save his livelyhood and nbot be another statistic of ther economy which the board kept bringing up.
Top 1% November 03, 2011 at 08:14 PM
This is the definition of LIBEL.
KingsParkKid November 03, 2011 at 08:15 PM
agreed. completely out of line. we may agree. we may disagree. a personal remark like that is unacceptable.
KingsParkKid November 03, 2011 at 08:28 PM
TO TOP 1% ---- you have got to be kidding me with your comment. LIBEL? really. i disagree. it is a FACT. it is NOT slander to ruin anyones reputation. go to a meeting or watch a video. i am NOT here to argue with you or anyone else on the matter. i am an EDUCATED, taxpayer in this community and my opinion matters just as much as anyone else. if i choose to question the BOE i would like to do so without intimidation or rude remarks in return!!!!!
Bill Motherway November 03, 2011 at 10:05 PM
I polled my family and staff and the general response was "sometimes". Nevertheless, I do not apologize for the way I preside over our Board of Education meetings. The 10 Board of Ed members, administrators and District Clerk that sit up front in the spotlight at every meeting all have very strong backbones. We listen and respond to your comments, good or bad. We make decisions based on facts and what is best for our children and community. I will continue to do that. I will also continue my position that anonymous comments, letters, e-mails and phone calls are the tools of cowards. Have the courage to identify yourselves if you wish to be taken seriously.a
Dee Reichert November 04, 2011 at 12:54 AM
its interesting that you would knock civil service workers especially since both you and your wife are retired civil service workers. no employee ever said sacrifice is for suckers let somebody else pay as you stated. I worked as a KP bus driver for 26 years and i can tell you this these people go out there eveyday and do a teriffic job under the conditions they have to work with now. There is a shortage of drivers and they do whatever it takes to get the job done. That includes mechanics and the aids. The district hasn't bought a new bus in years and the mechanics do a fantastic job of keeping everything in great shape and running safely. There have been plenty of cost cuts with alot of reductions in transportation. Contracting out is not the answer. Kings Park has always had its own bus company and it should not be torn down. Lets not forget what happened to the Smithtown school district with there decision to contract out. It blew up in their faces. Contract busing is a business and they are in it to make money. Everyone should rally behind transportation and keep a good thing going for our town and our community.
kper November 04, 2011 at 02:26 AM
why so you and your board can threaten people. I have heard plenty of stories from the people that have been threatened. You were rude and you should apologize, if not that just means your stubborn. You don't belittle someone just because you think you can. We will see what happens when the people vote at re-election.
Daniel Tobias November 05, 2011 at 03:36 AM
At the meeting two weeks ago and as it is stated above it seems that all of this fighting is at the request of one, yes one, resident suggesting that we should change from our own buses to contract buses. Where is this person? All I see is extremely concerned parents and transportation employees at the meetings strongly opposing the change. I find it hard to believe that it is only one resident who wants this. What I do believe is that one, some, or all of the board members want the change as well as the Superintendent. When the school district supplies the buses the children's safety is paramount, when a private company is contracted to transport our children, profit, not safety, is paramount. They are in the business to make money, the School District isn't. Superintendent Agruso, President Motherway, and all of the board members, DO NOT PUT PRICE OVER SAFETY WHEN IT COME TO OUR CHILDREN!!!
Dee Reichert November 05, 2011 at 02:43 PM
i agree with you I have always believed it was Ms. Agruso and some members of the board who want the transportation dept. gone. Ms Agruso would like not to deal with it any longer. It has had bad management for over 5 years now due to the people that were hired to run it and did not have the knowledge of its operations. Administration has been overseeing it also without the knowledge of how it operates. This was always a very smooth operation the problem comes down to who is overseeing the operation . The community has always appreciated the fact that they are secure in knowing their children are in good competant hands.
Dan Warne November 06, 2011 at 02:58 AM
Dee you are correct in stating I was a civil servant for 43 years, but i was also the union vice president. I have never condoned, nor will I ever support contracting out. But I stand by my statement the dicussions need to take place between the district and your union reps to resolve the issue. My understanding is that "past practices" has become a stumbling block for the district to the point that Dr Agruso had contracting out issues leaked out. As for a reduction in work hours, a Improper Practice charge should have been filed with PERB. Everything in your contract is negiotable and cannot be arbitraily changed by the whim of the board. I suggest the parties talk privately, not in the press, to resolve this issue.
DJMc November 06, 2011 at 03:34 PM
Why is it better that the "parties talk privately"? This is not a private issue - this affects every child and parent in this town. This issue should be discussed in the open, not behind closed doors. Without prejudice all the interested parties should talk about the pros and cons of each point of view, and come to a decision that addresses the problem in the best possible way. You cannot have a constructive debate when you have all ready decided your choice before the discussion begins. Unfortunately, I have been told by many parents that the current KP School Board is not known for being open to listening to anyones' opinion but their own. If true this is unfortunate considering the "opinions" being ignored are those of the people who elected them in the first place. It would only be fair to say that my family has been in this town for over 100 years so I do not write this without some bias. D. Warne seems to think that "past practices" are a major problem. Sometimes they are, but in some cases they are worth the effort (and cost) needed to keep these practices. The bus drivers in Kings Park have always been the PARENTS in Kings Park. These drivers are not just anyone with the correct license - these are the people who feel that they are driving their own children to school everyday. So, get back to what should be the deciding factor - Who do you want driving your children to school? Personal agendas have no place in these discussions or decisions - check 'em at the door.
tired of the spin November 06, 2011 at 08:21 PM
toBill;Let me make it clear for you why people are forced to make flyers,e-mails, etc.Anonymously,because of retaliation against employees.Its sad that a person can't have their say on issues for fear of retaliation.I hope this explanation clears it up for you.Lets move on:If there is no truth in this flyer then why are you so threatened by it?Why are you paying a consultant to look into the transportation issue?How many thousands will this cost us taxpayers? The part in your comment "if you want to be taken seriously".I take very seriously the prospect of people in my town losing their livelihood and some not being able to keep their homes if their jobs are gone,do you? You say you base your decisions on fact.Well heres one item that "lying" flyer mentioned-there will be a lot of people in our community who will be hurting.And thats a FACT! And to Dan,I do not know what you were thinking,(were you even there?)about the drivers reply ,you even put quotation marks on it!!Nice touch! K P people- remember and VOTE when the time comes
KP Pride for Life November 06, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Dr. Derose + 20 years = No Problems .......Dr. Agruso (or as she likes to be known as "The CEO of the KPSD") ...NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS....revolving door of coaches, teachers and administrators....Does anyone else see who the REAL problem is? P.S she was hired as a Superindendant, not a CEO. KP-BOE stick to the real issues and stop entertaining the nonsense issues.

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