PB superintendent clarifies new bus plan


Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Linda Watson said Tuesday that the concerns of some district parents related to the new two-tier bus transport system can largely be chalked up to the fact that her administration left some important information out of an official notice run in the Commercial.

Watson spoke during the regular monthly meeting of the PBSD board of directors.

“We will be beginning to implement the Breakfast in the Classroom program at our elementary through middle schools this school year and we neglected to put that information into the official notice that ran in the paper,” Watson said. “The board approved the district’s participation in this federal program that we received a grant to participate in. As soon as the students arrive at school they will be served breakfast.”

Watson said that the worries expressed by some parents that their children would have to get up even earlier than previous years because of the new bus schedule are largely unfounded.

“In the vast majority of cases children will not be picked up as early in the morning under this new system as they were last year,” Watson said. “This is because elementary through middle school students will no longer riding with the older junior and senior high school students which means the routes will be shorter.”

“It appears that we are starting a little earlier but we are not,” Watson said. “We just didn’t get all of the needed information out to parents as quickly as we should have.”

Watson said the new bus schedule allows for the transport of elementary through middle school students between 6:50 a.m. and 7:35 a.m.

“They will get to school and be served their breakfast before the instructional day starts,” Watson said.

Elementary and middle schools are scheduled for dismissal at 2:50 p.m.

“Jack Robey Junior High School and Pine Bluff High School will start later because we don’t have enough bus drivers,” Watson said.

Junior and senior high school students will be transported between 7:35 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. and will be dismissed at 3:35 p.m.

“The elementary students may be getting out a little earlier than the older students and we know there are some concerns out there related to latch-key kids,” Watson said. “But once our after-school programs kick in, any problems related to that should be taken care of.”

Personnel

In other business the board approved a series of personnel actions recommended by Watson, including the hiring of certified personnel Daniel Bingaman as a social studies teacher at Jack Robey Junior High effective Aug. 8; Donald Booth as assistant principal of Pine Bluff High School effective July 17; Jennifer Brooks as a math teacher at Jack Robey effective Aug. 8; Rich Dell’Isola as a math teacher at Pine Bluff High School effective Aug. 8; Samuel Thomson as a vocational/trade instructor at PBHS effective Aug. 8; and Tamara Williams as a math teacher at Jack Robey effective Aug. 8.

The board approved the resignation of classified personnel Synthia Harroway as a paraprofessional at PBHS effective July 21.

The board approved the resignations of Sanita Girley as a vocational/trade instructor at PBHS effective June 28; and Diandra Stewart as a science teacher at PBHS effective July 8.

Food service

The board approved food service bids for the 2013-2014 school year for produce, staples, paper and cleaning products, grease trap cleaning, ware wash, bread, dry and cold food and milk.

Finances

The board heard the financial summary for the month ending June 28 which included a beginning balance of $13,391,509; receipts for the month of $3,699,786; total available of $54,496,909; expenses for the month of $6,012,224; amount available for operating of $12,217,225; and total balance for all funds of $16,257,824.