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Board calls Tuesday meeting to discuss transportation concerns

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By Shannon Brock

The Anderson County Board of Education will meet today at 5 p.m. at its office at 1160 Bypass North to discuss feedback on the attendance area plan.

The board's special called work session is open to the public.

The school system hosted three informational meetings about the plan on March 24, 25 and 27. Each of the county's three elementary schools hosted a meeting.

Although the original focus for the meetings was to inform parents about the new attendance area plan, the majority of each meeting was spent hearing and collecting parents' transportation concerns, which have been dubbed a byproduct of the plan.

According to board policy, which was not changed when the board approved the new attendance areas and procedures, students are to attend the school to which they've been assigned based on geographical attendance areas and the district will provide transportation within those areas, said Bret Foster, the schools' chief information officer.

"No transportation is provided outside the geographical attendance area," Foster said at the Saffell Street Elementary School meeting on March 24.

Buses would only pick children up and drop them off in assigned attendance areas.

As the policy stands, parents who apply for and are granted a transfer to another school outside their attendance area are responsible for transporting their children to and from the school.

Parents have been overwhelmingly concerned with their children's transportation to after school care. Many students live in one geographical attendance area, but go to day care in another. As the transportation policy stands, those students would not be bused outside of their attendance areas.

Director of Student Services Margo Whisman said Superintendent Kim Shaw asked her and other attendance area committee members to record all of the concerns voiced at the three informational meetings and to bring them to the Board of Education.

"We're going to write down every transportation concern, take them to the board, and they'll work with transportation," Whisman told the parents at the Saffell meeting.

"We'll make sure they have a good understanding of your concerns," Foster added.