MCCSC Transportation Update
Like many school corporations across Indiana, MCCSC has been struggling with a persistent shortage of providing timely transportation services for our children. Often, 15-20 routes are unfilled each day. We have worked with custodians, maintenance, mechanics, and transportation staff to achieve their commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs) licenses to enable us to cope with the shortfall. Unfortunately, many children are not able to get to school on time and many are home near 6:00 p.m. due to waiting for a bus.
While most drivers are employed directly by MCCSC, “contract drivers” currently drive 1/3 of the bus routes. Those contracts expire at the end of this school year and were recently put out to bid per state law. Auxilio, a fleet contractor, had the most responsive bid and will provide transportation services beginning next year. Current contractors will be offered positions and may be driving the same routes next school year.
1. Recently we heard that MCCSC will be using a company to drive contract routes. What does this mean for my children?
Most of the buses your children ride are owned by MCCSC. Children transported on MCCSC buses will not feel any change. About 1/3 of the routes are currently contract routes; these routes will be taken over by a company called Auxilio. Your children may have a different bus and driver next year. However, Auxilio has offered to hire your current driver and have the driver continue to drive your child’s route if it is available. If your child has been transported in a timely manner, your family should not feel a change. For those who have been subjected to long wait times, those wait times should improve or disappear.
2. Will my bus driver change?
Most of the MCCSC bus drivers will not change. MCCSC directly employs approximately 2/3 of all MCCSC drivers, while 1/3 are currently independent contractors. Fleet contractor Auxilio has offered to employ current “contract drivers,” so they should have the option of continuing to drive their current routes.
3. Is MCCSC saving money by using a fleet contractor as opposed to the current contract drivers?
When we discuss savings we mean the cost of the Auxilio contract versus the cost of the higher bids provided by the current contract drivers. This savings will be $3.4 million over 4 years. It does not mean we are going to lower costs in the Transportation Fund by $3.4 million over 4 years. The Auxilio bid will enable MCCSC to keep the total Transportation Fund expenditures going forward close to current expenditures and within our budgetary capabilities. Taking the higher bids would increase expenditures in the Transportation Fund by $3.4 million over 4 years and would be cost prohibitive. In addition, that number is based on a 31-route to 31-route comparison only. Additional routes will increase our savings to $4 million dollars over the life of the contract.
MCCSC’s Continued Commitment to Students
The Monroe County Community School Corporation continues its dedication to embrace all children and meet their special and diverse needs. Our diversity has always been our strength and with a core focused on cultural responsiveness, we are dedicated to maintaining a school environment that empowers students and maximizes their educational success to become productive, responsible, global citizens.
At a time when there are remarks being made and actions taken that are hurtful to members of our school community or that compromise our efforts to provide a welcoming and diverse learning culture, where all students feel valued, we ask every student, parent, and family member for help. Regardless of other political affiliation or personal beliefs, the MCCSC values every student and each will be treated in a respectful manner without fear of bullying, intimidation or threatening remarks. None of which will be tolerated.
If you or your student has a concern about your safety please speak to a teacher and/or school administrator immediately.
Thank you for your help and leadership in ensuring every student and staff member is valued, respected and continues to feel safe in the MCCSC!
We have received several recent questions regarding some misinformation about bathroom labeling in our schools. The MCCSC serves ALL students. In serving ALL, student emotional and physical safety is central to every decision we make. In recent years, as a corporation, we have expanded our direct engagement with our students identifying as LGBTQ+. We have done so to ensure that this often marginalized group of students feels welcome and safe in our schools. These students have worked with administrators, teachers, and their peers to educate others on the ways to respectfully talk about individual student identity, gender, and sexual orientation.
Within this context, a pressing issue not only in schools but in all public facilities, is providing access to gender non-specific restrooms. Schools across the nation are in the news every day working to address this civil rights issue. During the past school year, the administration at MCCSC high schools have started to identify restroom facilities throughout their building as gender neutral restrooms. An early version of our signage at some of the high schools including a “Family” restroom symbol caused some confusion for students.
Pictures of this signage are still circulating in the community, but that signage is no longer present in our buildings. The restrooms are now clearly labeled, located in accessible locations, and available to any student. The agreed upon signage that worked for ALL students matches a sign you may find in a public library or a government building. The sign includes the universally recognized symbols denoting a restroom facility. Each comprehensive high school includes four such restrooms. All of the existing gender-specific multi-stall restrooms still exist in the facilities in their easily accessible locations for students. Parents with specific questions about access to these facilities or their locations in the building can speak with the building principal. Other questions can be directed to MCCSC Public Relations and Information Officer, Tim Pritchett, at email@example.com.
Throughout the winter, we are faced with a number of weather situations forcing us to make the very difficult judgment call to delay or cancel school. With every decision to delay or close school, our number one priority is student and staff safety. We thank all of our patrons for understanding the difficulty in making this decision. Factors contributing to a delay decision pertain to road accessiblity, parking lot accessibility, temperature, wind, and daylight when applicable. These considerations are also used in determining a cancellation. With many winter months still ahead, we wanted to share some important reminders.
You can follow us on Twitter @MCCSC_EDU for up to the second announcements on weather related closings or delays. If you have a question about this post or a suggestion for this blog, please Contact Us.
At this evening's Board meeting, the MCCSC will unveil the rollout plan for launching the Here Comes the Bus application. Here Comes the Bus pairs our existing onboard GPS system with a user friendly interface for tracking bus arrival time. The presentation at tonight's meeting will share some of the main features of the app and include a schedule for the rollout to parents. The app will offer two levels of subscription. The free level simply has a user enter a corporation code, establish a free account, and have the ability to track their child's bus through an onscreen map. For a small subscription fee, a parent could elect to establish a "geofence," essentially a radius around a given location, that would provide alerts when a bus entered the radius and was approaching a stop. Check out this short video from Synovia to see how it works:
Parents can download the app, "Here Comes the Bus," by Synovia Solutions through the Appstore and Google Play. Upon launch, scheduled in late January/early February, look for a corporation code to establish an account. If you have questions about this app or any other MCCSC initiative, please Contact Us.
Many are unaware that the MCCSC Student Services department operates a 501(c)3 United Way member agency non-profit organization, the School Assistance Fund. Social workers from throughout the school corporation are able to tap into the fund and the supplies collected by the department to help students in a variety of ways extending beyond the classroom and the school day. Specifically, the School Assistance Fund provides clothing, dental, eye, and emergency medical care for students who need assistance to function in school. Throughout the year, individuals may contact a specific school or the MCCSC administration seeking a way to help students in need. By directing them to the School Assistance Fund, we are able to pool resources providing school supplies, financial assistance, clothing and more for our students in need. To find out more about the fund or to make a donation to its efforts, you may contact Becky Rose, Director of Student Services, at (812) 330-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a question about this post or would like to make a suggestion for a future post, please Contact Us.
Coming off 90+ degree days, it is hard to believe that fall and winter are just around the corner. With early morning fog and cooler weather on the horizon, though, parents can get started on preparing for weather delays or closings now. There are a variety of ways to be sure your family is prepared for the fall and winter ahead. First, if you have a smarthphone or tablet, download our free corporation app today. The new MCCSC Engage mobile app includes a feature for push notifications that will provide an instant alert to your iOS or Android device when MCCSC issues an announcement. Second, you can review MCCSC policies related to weather delays and closings on our homepage or directly at this link: Weather Closings, Delays, and Early Dismissals FAQ. Finally, if you have not done so already, we encourage you to register for Family Access through Skyward. With Family Access, you can manage your preferred contact preferences and view current contact informaiton on file with your school. For more information of Family Access and updating your Skwyard contact information with your school, you may visit the Skyward Family Access guide on the Families tab of our website. If you have questions about this post or any suggestions for future posts, please Contact Us.
Next week, MCCSC teachers begin training with Denise Lessow, Director of the Pinnacle School, Michi McClaine, District Transition Coordinator, Cheryl Lewandowski, MCCSC School Psychologist, along with district Literacy Coaches which includes the transition of many Pinnacle students into MCCSC schools. Teachers will meet in multiple sessions for professional development beginning July 22nd to learn new skills and strategies to work with students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Ultimately, these skills will support striving readers in the MCCSC schools. The MCCSC Literacy Continuum is dedicated to supporting a smooth transition for these students into general education classrooms, providing the supports they need, as well as providing intervention for all students.
On a related note, a few recent questions have been posed to us about MCCSC’s special education services and population of students with disabilities. The most recent report for the MCCSC from Indiana Department of Education lists 459 students identified as having a “Specific Learning Disability,” which includes dyslexia. 478 students are identified with a “Language/Speech Impairment.” In total, MCCSC serves 1751 students with disabilities or 14.7% of our student population. The State reports that 14.9% of students throughout all of Indiana have a disability.
As the transition approaches, parents with questions about the process or their individual student can contact Michi McClaine, District Transition Coordinator, at email@example.com Class specifics and enrollment questions can be directed to individual building principals who return to the office on Monday, July 20, 2015.