Tammy Warfield thought everything was in place for the first day of school last week when she put her daughter on the school bus and watched her ride off to pre-kindergarten.
She registered her daughter for transportation last month, noting on her registration form that her 5-year-old wasn’t going to kindergarten, but to pre-kindergarten. The district transportation secretary accepted her registration form and Warfield thought she was good.
At around 11:20 a.m. on the first day of school, the district called Warfield at her workplace in Moon Township to let her know her daughter would not be able to ride the bus this year.
Pre-kindergarten students aren’t allowed to ride the bus.
“Yep, there was an error,” said Jerry Chestman, the district’s director of support services.
Warfield was at Wednesday night’s agenda meeting to tell school board members her plight and ask for help with a solution.
“The bus passes my house every day,” Warfield said. “I’m just asking for consideration.”
She even contacted district busing company AJ Myers & Sons to see how much it would cost for her to pay for her daughter’s daily transportation. Warfield was told it would cost an outlandish $400 a day.
Policy, in this case, said Chestman, must be followed.
“If we transport a student in one instance, we would have to transport every pre-kindergarten student in the district,” Chestman said.
Warfield thought that since her daughter is 5, the minimum age for kindergarteners in the district, the board would allow her to ride. But Chestman noted that the Pennsylvania code covering student busing bases its standards on grade levels, not age.
Board president Marilyn Messina expressed sympathy for Warfield’s situation, thanking her for waiting the two extra hours the meeting was delayed during a closed-door executive session, and suggested she talk again with the transportation department.
“I hoped that something could be worked out, but policy has to be followed,” Messina said.
In other district news:
- The board held a special meeting before the agenda setting meeting Wednesday to approve a $34,464 payment to Churchill Borough for a building permit for renovations to the high school’s media center and IT department. It passed unanimously.
- The board will vote on several personnel items at the district's regular meeting next Wednesday (Sept. 12), including hiring two additional elementary teachers to relieve class size at Shaffer.
- The board will vote on to accept a property assessment report it needed to complete an assessment appeal for the Sears/PCELL property in Wilkins. Bodnar Real Estate Services of Pittsburgh’s report assessed the property at $4.9 million in both 2010 and 2011, $5.5 million in 2012, and $6 million in 2013.
The board will vote on these items when the district’s legislative meeting takes place Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 7:30 p.m.