Saturday, May 7, 2011

Continued Incompetence At Decatur Schools - Now Threatens Bus Driver Jobs

WRTV reporter, Kara Kenney, reports on a $1.9 million cost overrun in the MSD Decatur Township transportation budget.  You will remember that just last year, the district began targeting bus drivers in an attempt to get the older, more highly paid, drivers to resign.  The district bought more new buses, added drivers, and began using a transportation plan that had previously failed in Perry Township while raising costs there.  Now, predictably, the plan is failing in Decatur and raising costs here.

Here is Kenney's report ("Parents, Bus Drivers Upset Over Plan to Cut Routes"):

Parents, Bus Drivers Upset Over Plan To Cut Routes
Plan Would Lay Off Drivers, Limit Parents' Options

A Decatur Township Schools bus driver and some parents claim the district's cost-cutting transportation plan could put students' safety in jeopardy.

The school system is considering laying off bus drivers, cutting routes and changing pickup and drop-off times, 6News' Kara Kenney reported.

"My concerns are the overcrowding of the buses. There's already enough fights and enough problems on the buses," said a bus driver who did not want to be identified for fear of losing her job. "Add more kids, they're going to be crowded, three to a seat. They can't fit. The kids are too big."

The bus driver said she normally transports 50 to 60 children, but under the new plan, she expects almost 80 students per bus.

"I don't think the school district is looking at the kids' best interest," the bus driver said.
Numbers obtained by 6News show the district is spending twice the transportation dollars it has. Projected revenues for 2011 are $2,050,000, while estimated expenditures are $3,910,000, a difference of $1.9 million.

Operations Director Susan Adams told 6News one way the district operated inefficiently was by assigning all 6,600 children in the district to a school bus, whether they ride or not.

The school district has already asked parents to register for bus transportation so that the district can account for car riders and fill buses to capacity.

Also under the cost-cutting plan, the school will no longer allow children to be picked up and dropped off in different locations, which would impact many divorced and working parents.

"If they stop doing that, what's going to happen with the kids? They're going to be stuck," said grandparent Cindy Parker. "What's going to happen with the parents? They're not going to be able to go to work and make the money."

"Baby sitter, day cares, people arrange to have certain drop-off points," said mother Barbara Tedrow. "They have certain hours they work, and it's going to mess up everything."

6News emailed school administrators and stopped by Thursday, but no one would discuss the transportation plan.

In February 2010, 6News uncovered Decatur Township school buses idling unnecessarily and pointed it out to Superintendent Don Stinson.

"As we look at cutting transportation dollars, all aspects will have to be looked at. The fuel cost, how can we reduce fuel, and you've shown me a way," said Stinson last year.

Decatur Township Schools Operations Director Susan Adams told 6News the district wants to offer busing because 60 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch programs and the bus is their only way to school.

The school board is expected to consider the transportation plan at its meeting Tuesday.


Anonymous said...

"Numbers obtained by 6News show the district is spending twice the transportation dollars it has. Projected revenues for 2011 are $2,050,000, while estimated expenditures are $3,910,000, a difference of $1.9 million."

1.9 million bucks shy of being able to run our buses and get the kids to school. Think of it.

Too bad Don Stinson blew a million-plus bucks on astro-turf for the DCHS varsity football field so the new football coach and his proud-as-punch grandpa on the school board could live their fantasies 4 or 5 times a year. Of course some near-and-dear friends of Don made some cash on the construction costs, too.

Too bad the school board blew hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy Stinson and many other administrators extra years in their PERF retirement accounts. Each of those years is pretty pricey to buy when you're getting gray and close to retirement. But no biggie, it's just taxpayer money. Why can't Stinson and his fat-cat pals work HONEST years on the job for their years of retirement pay just like the rest of us? Why do we have to buy them freebie years of the sweet life? What do we owe Stinson and his pals???

Too bad for all the other perks that the school board is showering on Don Stinson and his fat cat pals on the central office gravy train. Why do we have to pay them additional money so they can buy their own health insurance policies outside of the one the district offers to its other employees? They were getting the school's group health insurance for a dollar a year anyway, why do they need even more money to opt out and buy their own policies? Too bad township residents can't opt out of paying the property tax bill for all those good times they're having at central office.

Too bad that taxpayers have had to foot the bill for Stinson and his admin pals to go on glitzy out-of-state party junkets, taking school board members with them, not to mention the "special friends" of certain school board members, all on the backs of broken and out of work township residents. Think how much fuel for the school buses we could buy if Sweet Life Stinson could show a little impulse control? We're talking about gallons of fuel for school buses versus a week in a Nevada hot-spot hotel all expenses paid for the 'right' group of people.

Stinson has rode this township school district to its knees. Now the township residents, and their hapless children, have to pay the butcher's bill for the Good Life that Stinson, and his fat cat pals have been living. There's not quite enough money to run the school buses, though you can be sure that Stinson will be filling his pick-up truck with township gas just as soon as he gets his driver's license back, just as he always did before his driving privileges were suspended.

Shame on you Don Stinson. This school district is here for the benefit of children. It's not a cash cow for you and your cronies. It's easy to see how we're missing the cash needed to to keep the buses running and the kids safe. Yet Don has the gall to get red-faced and shouting if anyone inquires as to what he is willing to give up "for the good of the children". For shame...

Anonymous said...

"Too bad Don Stinson blew a million-plus bucks on astro-turf for the DCHS varsity football field"

Once I finished this part of the 1st sentence, I knew you had no clue what you were talking about. Have there been poor choices? Yes, but could you do better? If so run for school board.

However, do some research first. School funding laws prohibit constuction funds to be used for transportation PR general funds. The money he spent on the field could not be used buses. Also, it pays for itself after about 7-8 years.

Before you rant next time (which was so foolish to me as I continued your post) check your "facts".

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 9:53 -- clearly, it is you who needs to check their facts. It is ILLEGAL to overspend any budget that was approved after advertising and a public hearing.

By the way, MISTER don stinson is all set to plead not guilty to drunk driving this Tuesday. How's that for accepting responsibility?

Go check YOUR facts and get back to us. And by the way, check your moral compass. It just might not agree with don on the bus drivers, not agree with don on rehiring all the old administrators all while telling the public otherwise, or with drunk driving and then trying to weasel out of the consequences. Or any number of illegal, immoral and unethical actions of don stinson and the rubber stamping school board.

Heaven help the children of Decatur.

Anonymous said...

I have been following this blog for quite some time now, and I have just a few things to say. The negativity and hate that spews from this blog and some of the comments is astounding to me. One of my parents works in Decatur schools and I couldn't' be more proud. Have people made mistakes... yes. I didn't realize every move that they make is up for crucification by negative naysayers like yourselves. Shame on YOU (anon. 4:43) for spewing such harsh judgements. If you have never made a mistake in your life, then I understand. But since I can see your "facts" list, I know that is not true. They are human beings. And frankly, every comment that is said in opposition to your hate, is dismissed as "ignorant" from the blog author. Had Enough Indy, if you are convinced of all the wrongs in this world, than I would love to hear some purposed solutions from you, and plans of your next campaign. Instead, all I hear is whining and moaning about all the things that others are doing wrong.
If you are unsatisfied with your schools performance take actions to change that, rather than whining like girls behind other's backs form the safety of your keyboard. I am choosing not to read this garbage again.

Anonymous said...

Sorry...but (as you seem to have conveniently forgotten) Had Enough Indy has consistently offered real-world solutions to the incompetence and self-serving actions of Stinson and his school board friends right from the git-go. You can find it all chapter and verse in the blog's archives. But you knew that, you're no doubt paid to go into a rage when anyone dares to question the actions of your benefactor. Sorry the unwashed taxpayers out here upset you. Perhaps, as you said, you shouldn't read this blog any more?

Anonymous said...

Had Enough Indy? said...

By the way, MISTER don stinson is all set to plead not guilty to drunk driving this Tuesday. How's that for accepting responsibility?


HEI you must have bad info. Everybody knows that Mr. Stinson tearfully admitted his guilt during his Jimmy Swaggart confession before the school board at their meeting last January. For him to go to court now and plead not guilty would set a poor example before the students of our school district, and we all know his caring for our children knows no bounds. He'll take it like a man and plead guilty, you watch and see. He is the very soul of responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Oh Pat,

I never said that I agree with what was/is done to bus drivers. I never said anything about a DUI. That happened on his time, not the schools and he took responsibility for it (thus far)

However, I simply said that the football comment was completely wrong. YOU also know it's wrong too. But yet you assume my meaning from words not said. You lost your election bid, were booted from the school board, and now spew hate and defend wrong assumptions. I usually just read this site for some humor, as most of the comments are of the level of crazy comparable to G. Beck.

Keep up the good work. I always need a laugh.

Anonymous said...

well...glad to see that Stinsons gravy train gang at CO are still reading this blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, no...not nice comparing Pat to Glenn Beck. Maybe better for you to compare him to Stinson. The difference is that Glenn Beck makes more money than even Don Stinson does, plus Beck long ago admitted he has an alcohol problem, and dealt with it.

Sad to say, the level of wit and intellect in the posts from Central Office has regretably gone down substantially since Mr. Pellico was kicked off the gravy train. LOL!

Anonymous said...

EVERY parent who has to use the Decatur school buses for transportation had better attend the school board meeting on Tuesday night. Maybe MR Stinson will announce his GUILT but don't be surprised if he is given no consequences.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 11:22 said:

One of my parents works in Decatur schools and I couldn't' be more proud. Have people made mistakes... yes. I didn't realize every move that they make is up for crucification by negative naysayers like yourselves. Shame on YOU for spewing such harsh judgements. If you have never made a mistake in your life, then I understand..."

Well, I don't know about anyone else here, but I certainly have made mistakes over the years. However, I can assure you that none of them involved robbing school children so I could fatten my retirement package, or taking my special friend on an all expense paid out-of-state party junket courtesy of schoolkids who needed the money worse that I did. People who divert money from school children to line their own pockets should stop it, or grow thicker skin. Were you expecting parents to love them for taking money set aside for their children?

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:09 PM. Funny; there will be maybe MAYBE 3 or 4 patrons in the gallery. No one that is griping here or anywhere else will be there. LOL. Love the drama dont you? Love to gripe and do nothing about it? Keep electing them too. That's the way uh hu uh I like it i like it...LOL!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how free/reduced lunch is determined? I know it's based off of income, but who approves it? The state? The school? I know people who are cheating the system and word is getting around that it's easy to do. One person turned in their paperwork and was denied because they made too much money. So they filled out another slip and claimed $300 weekly income and was APPROVED! Nothing required. No paycheck stub, tax statement, nothing. This parent makes well over $45,000 per year.

Anyone know who is in charge of this?

Anonymous said...

Why aren't parents upset about:

1. Superintendant makes $1,300.00 a DAY

2. Board president doesn't live in Decatur Township. (yes there IS a law that says an elected official has to reside in their district!)

3. School board junkets to New Orleans, San Diago, and Orlando (and others) including spouses and "special friends".

4. Year round school.

5. "Trendy" educational ideas that fail (intermediate school joke).

6. Small school joke.

Need I say more? Lets see; my estimate for township residents in the gallery at tonights meeting.....3. Maybe 4; depends on who's being honored. Maybe 4.

Real easy to grip and complain and keep electing Huffman and Greenwald isn't it?

Anonymous said... reports that 18-20 bus drivers in Decatur Townshi will lose jobs next year. Looks like Decatur will spend a bunch of money on unemployment costs for those drivers. Too bad Stinson can't be paid less??? How about his many assistants??? How about those retirees who are consultants?? Doubt that the $15 charge to students will cover the amount paid to Dave Rather for sports?????? It is really too bad.

Anonymous said...

How old were those trucks maintenance drivers traded in for brand new ones this year? They looked still new.More money out of transportation.Drivers went into Rosie and Brenda last year and told them this years plan would be too expensive. Hire new drivers and buy more bosses... But they never listen to drivers now they are the ones who must pay the price for administrations ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Rosie isn't gonna pay the price for anything any more than $tinson will. She pocketed her bundle of cash and goodies and bailed out. So long suckers. Brenda is just marking the days until Susan's son is ready to take over Brenda's position. He's tired of doing summer maintenamce jobs for peanuts at the MSD and will be ready for his management position soon. Susan will be so proud.

Anonymous said...

I did not know Susan Adams son was working at Decatur too!Where is that 134 acres of land they bought and how much did they pay for it?

One of the Bus Drivers was forced to take such a big load of kids the other day that she had 3 in a seat and kids sitting in the isle on the floor. How safe is that in case of fire and accident?
They have removed all of the bus capacity numbers from busses and are planning on stuffing them next year. Drivers were always told they could NEVER have anything in the aisle, even feet before the dictatorship of Susan Adams and T.J. Whitfield. I hope they are held responsible in case of no way to escape in case of a fire.... Decatur has had bus fires before and will again.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe they are keeping Marie in Transportation Dept. She has been doing route mapping for 3 or 4 years now. Yet when they needed routes remapped last year and this year they had to hire an outsider to do that. How much did that cost? Now they are going to make her a boss over Special Ed.What are her qualifications for that job other than being special friends with the ex asst super and his friend Susan Adams.