Busing study could mean big changesA transportation study approved Monday could pave the way for another change to Red Wing's elementary schools.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
A transportation study approved Monday could pave the way for another change to Red Wing's elementary schools.
The study will look at revamping districtwide busing, but will focus on a one-tier busing schedule, Supt. Stan Slessor said. The district currently buses middle- and high-school students first, then elementary students later in the morning.
Slessor said discussions with the district's transportation consultant indicated Red Wing could be in for significant savings under a single busing schedule.
"I think it's something worth investigating," Slessor said.
However, he said that means basing the study on a system more similar to the neighborhood schools model ditched by the district earlier in the decade. Slessor said the consultant proposed framing the study based on a K-4 model at both Sunnyside and Burnside elementary schools.
The study costs $4,800 and would require another $4,800 if School Board members told the consultant to implement a plan.
Sunnyside currently houses kindergarten, first grade and part of second grade. Burnside houses three sections of second-graders and grades 3 through 5.
Red Wing opted for the current model — referred to as the grade-level system — beginning in 2003 amid budget cuts, after decades under the neighborhood school system.
While Monday's vote only supported the transportation study, the surrounding issues drew concern from one board member.
School Board member Dennis Porter said another change to the elementary system could be jarring to the public.
"We're really throwing a lot at the public, and we're kind of keeping them off balance," he said.
In June, School Board members will be asked to approve changes at its other buildings. Administrators and staff are researching the possibilities of sending fifth-graders to Twin Bluff Middle School and eighth-graders to Red Wing High School.
Sunnyside Principal Patti Roberts on Monday told School Board members the current elementary busing system doesn't harness students' optimal learning time.
"Our schedule currently makes that difficult," she said.
Roberts said some students begin the day in day care at 6 a.m., before coming to school, which doesn't start until 9 a.m. She said the schedule means most students are worn out by 2 p.m.
That's understandable, said School Board member Heidi Jones.
"I'm in favor of really looking at this hard," she said. "I'm willing to examine it and see where it takes us."