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Dollar Bay board mulls busing issues

September 25, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

DOLLAR BAY - The members of the Board of Education of the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools got an update on the plan to add a fourth bus to transport students, but the discussion evolved into whether some students need to be bused at all.

During their regular meeting Monday, Superintendent Jan Quarless told the board members no decision has been made, yet, about adding a fourth bus for students because pick-up and drop-off times are still being coordinated.

"Hopefully, we're going to do it the beginning of next week," he said. "We have to work out some details yet."

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Stephen Anderson/Daily Mining Gazette
Adding a fourth bus to a district route was an agenda item Monday for the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools Board of Education, with much of the discussion centering on whether some students were unnecessarily being bused to school.

Quarless said he would like to see more children walk to school, and he reminded the members about the Walk to School Day the district conducted last year, which was well attended.

"It worked," he said.

It may be good to have a community discussion about getting more children to walk to school, Quarless said.

Childhood obesity has been an issue with federal and state health officials recently, and Quarless said having students walk to school could do much to alleviate obesity.

However, Quarless said he understands some parents may be concerned about having their children walk to school in the winter when mornings are dark, and during those months, students could be bused.

"As we move into spring, maybe kids could walk," he said.

Some students who live as close as a few blocks from the school building are being bused, now, Quarless said, and the buses also go door-to-door rather than picking up students at particular stops.

Board member Julie Dunstan said she was surprised at the idea of buses stopping at each child's house and children who live so close to the school being picked up.

"I think that's ridiculous," she said.

Board member Donna Engman said the current board members have never voted on how the district should conduct transporting students, but maybe it's something they should consider at another meeting.

Board members took no action on the transportation issue.

On a related issue, Quarless said it's been decided the district won't take part in the transporting of pre-school students for the BHK Child Development Board.

Quarless said when BHK transports children, state law requires all students wear a selt belt and a parent be on board to supervise.

However, since the buses used by the school district have no seat belts and there are no parents on board, he's concerned the district could have a liability problem.

"We're just not going to do it," he said.



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