A group of ECS parents met on June 8, 2019 to discuss how parents can respond and express their grave concern over the decision to put ECS 6-8 graders on PAT buses rather than school buses. Here is how you can help make your voice heard:
1. ***Most important: plan to attend and sign up to speak at June 17th PPS Board meeting. Call 412-529-3868 to register. Children can speak too. More details here: Board of Directors / Public Hearing Procedures. We need a count of who is planning to speak and who is planning to attend. Please use this google form to indicate if you are speaking or attending.
2. Map your kids bus schedule: Trip Planner Page and input it into this spreadsheet: Port Authority bus spreadsheet. If you can’t access the Google document, please send it to Jodi Weisfield at email@example.com. Please do this by Wednesday 6/12.
Address to the new middle school
5525 Columbo St
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
8:10 doors open
8:40 start time
3:40 dismissal begins
3. Write letters for our letter campaign by Wednesday (6/12). Sample ECS Letter is attached. Feel free to modify it or write your own. Email your letters to the following people:
a. firstname.lastname@example.org (Anthony Hamlet, Superintendent)
b. email@example.com (Pamela Capretta, COO of PPS)
c. firstname.lastname@example.org (Megan Patton – PPS transportation)
d. Daniel.email@example.com (Mayor’s Chief of Staff)
e. Your school board member (Your school board member information can be found here: Board of Directors / Board of Directors Homepage)
f. Your city council representative (www.pittsburghpa.gov)
Email copies of the letters to Nikole.Sheaffer@ecspgh.org – additional copies of each letter will be printed and delivered by ECS.
Also, put letter on your social media. Use the hashtag #yellowschoolbuspgh. Also tag Pittsburgh Public Schools and your elected officials including Mayor Peduto.
4. Contact your local city council person – if you are interested in organizing a group of parents to meet with your city council rep, please speak to the parents you know are in your district.
5. Have your child also write a letter from their perspective. Please email this letter to Nikole.Sheaffer@ecspgh.org and the individuals indicated above (in #2).
- Focus on safety especially because PPS decided putting middle school students on Port Authority buses was unsafe for other middle schools and changed course but feel it is safe for ECS middle school students.
- Here are some good statistics about why school buses are the safest form of transportation for school students – School Bus Safety
- Children would have no supervision on Port Authority buses
- By law, cars are required to stop when school buses are loading and unloading. Not this degree of safety required with city buses. And there will not be crossing guards when our children get on and off the bus.
- Kids will be riding with a bus full of strangers, not people they know
- Port Authority bus drivers are not there to watch our children. They are there to drive the bus from point a to point b. And it is unknown if they are required to have the same clearances school bus drivers are required to have.
- Most of our students, due to the location of the school would be required to have at least one transfer.
- Inclement weather and darkness – two things our kids will have to contend with getting to and from school
- There is no bus stop by the school. All kids will have to walk some distance when they get off the bus.
- Equity and access:
- Highlight the length of times, navigating bus transfers, walks to and from bus stops many of our students will need to go through.
- Number of communities our students come from. Not much access to Garfield via Port Authority.
- Access to high quality education is critical and this change may limit access
What not to stress:
- Don’t turn this into a fight about charter schools or speculate that ECS was targeted because it is a charter school or retaliation for its expansion.