TRANSPORTATION CHANGES OUTREACH
About the Revised HCPSS Transportation Policy 5200
"The Board of Education is committed to providing transportation services to students in a safe and efficient manner. With the intent of protecting the general well-being of students, the Board of Education recognizes the need to establish parameters for which transportation services are provided.
"The purpose of this policy is to establish a process by which transportation services for students are provided."
Revised: June 10, 2021
Modified: May 26, 2022
Effective: July 14, 2022
Memo Issued District-wide: March 28, 2023
WHAT HASN'T CHANGED?:
The walk distance for Pre-K through Grade 5 has not changed from the previous policy version. It remains 1.0 mile.
THEN WHAT HAS CHANGED?:
Distance is no longer measured door-to-door. Now it is measured from edges of school property (not front doors)
More flexibility in the setting the demarcation line. In establishing the demarcation line between transported and non-transported areas, they may now extend these distances to coincide with breaks in the pattern of homes, such as cul-de-sac, street intersections, major roadways, streams, parks, walking easements, commercial property, vacant land, unusual contour variations, and other features.
The number of buses serving PLES will go from 10 to 4
Lack of reliable transportation to school - as a Title I school, our families in the most need will no longer receive bus transportation from the apartments and homes on the other side of busy Tamar Drive
Children as young as 4-years-old walking 45+ minutes to and from school everyday
Some lacking sidewalks
General safety of tunnels, paths and sidewalks
Impact of weather conditions
Lack of supervision on way to school (Maryland Family Law Sec. 5-801 states that a child cannot be left unattended without proper supervision by a reliable person at least 13 years of age - this could be a barrier to many of our families)
Congested car loop
VIEW THE MAPS
For your convenience we've created the interactive map below (or click here) where you can view the old walk zone versus the new walk zone. Please Note: Maps were created by hand based on the maps from HCPSS, so they are approximate.
We are a Title 1 school and large areas of our community are home to children that are of higher socio-economic need. Without county provided transportation, these children may not be able to attend school on a regular basis because of lack of personal transportation, lack of available adult supervision when walking 1+ mile to and from school (something that is required by law for any child under the age of 8), or especially rainy, cold or hot conditions. This will cause an increase in absenteeism and result in missed instruction time. The resultant inequity brought on by the changes to the non-transportation zones stand in stark contrast to the HCPSS Strategic Call to Action which states, “All operations will be responsive, accountable, efficient and student‑centered. Schools, families and community partners, working together, will deliver on these four overarching commitments through a focus on student-centered practices, inclusive relationships, and responsive and efficient operations.”
As a school community, we urge you to reconsider the following changes that were made to Policy 5200 that will negatively affect a large portion of our school children:
1. Utilizing transportation software, measurements will begin at the property boundary or the school/school campus from the closest adjacent suitable pathway and end at the property line of the bona fide residence:
Instead we urge HCPSS to return to the implementation procedure that called for measurements for elementary school transportation boundaries to be measured from doors of bona fide residences to school entries.
2. In establishing the demarcation line between transported and non-transported areas, the Student Transportation Office may extend these distances to coincide with breaks in the pattern of homes, such as cul-de-sac, street intersections, major roadways, streams, parks, walking easements, commercial property, vacant land, unusual contour variations, and other features.
Instead of implementing the demarcation line in an arbitrary and subjective fashion, we urge HCPSS to implement the demarcation line at the 1 mile mark in a fair, equal, and objective fashion as required by law.
Thank you for your consideration in altering these points in Policy 5200 to ensure the safety and well-being of our children as well as ensuring the implementation of Policy 5200 is in accordance with federal statutes.
4/24 - PLES PTA general membership meeting on the transportation issue.
4/28 - Mrs. Leader (PLES principal), Sra. Garcia-Hedges (PLES Hispanic Achievement Liaison), and Mrs. Wacha (PLES PTA president) walked the new non-transport area with representatives from the HCPSS Transportation Department, focusing on Tamar Drive.
5/09 - PLES PTA issues advocacy letter for families to submit to relevant parties (see below):
**PLEASE KEEP EMAILING**
Emails to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, Michael_Martirano@hcpss.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
(The above emails go to: HCPSS Board of Education (BOE); HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano; BOE rep for PLES Linfeng Chen; Howard County Transportation Department; Howard County Executive Calvin Ball; HCPSS Transportation Department; HCPSS Area 2 Superintendent Jen Robinson; Howard County Council Member for District 2 Opel Jones; BOE members: Antonia Watts, Yun Lu, Jennifer Mallo, Jolene Mosley, Jacky McCoy, Robyn Scates, and Abisola Ayoola (student member); and Long Reach Community Association Board Chair Nina Basu.)
6/08 at 7 p.m.: Sra. Herrera will speak on behalf of PLES families affected by the new transportation policy. Board of Education Public Forum. [No food or drink allowed in the room.] Please come dressed in Phelps Luck spirit wear or in red to show your support! Bring signs!
Additional links and resources related to this policy change and educational access.
Tamar Drive Complete Streets Study
Howard County's Complete Streets Study for Tamar Drive was completed in June 2020. It's goal is "to improve accessibility to regional roadways for drivers while prioritizing safety and appropriate speeds and facilitating pedestrian, bicycle, and transit as well as motor vehicle travel."
HCPSS Strategic Call to Action
Read about HCPSS's Strategic Call to Action which focuses on equity, including student-centered operations and closing opportunity gaps.
HCPSS Policy 1080
Read about HCPSS's policy on Educational Equity. This policy is up for revision. According to the current policy, HCPSS "prioritizes educational equity by identifying and removing institutional barriers and other factors that obstruct access and opportunity to a high quality education for all students."
Learn about HCPSS's commitment to "eliminating disparities in access, opportunity and inclusion as the key to closing achievement and opportunity gaps and providing the nurturing and supportive school environment that every student deserves."
Title I Program
Title I is a federally funded program designed to close the achievement gap and ensure all children have an opportunity to access a high quality education.
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