Better Bus Schedule for Irvington High Schoolers
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We are writing to the school board and members of the district’s administration in order to seek a resolution in securing an appropriate bus pick-up time for Irvington high school to make the bus a viable option both for the students currently in high school, and for the students who attend Dow’s Lane,Main Street School or the Irvington Middle School whom will eventually require bus transportation to high school.
If you are not in the Irvington High School yet, you may be shocked to find high school bus pick-up time in Legend Hollow is at 6:28 AM for a first period that begins at 7:50. Many other routes have similar start times. We cannot imagine that any parent would find this schedule acceptable for their teenager.
Earlier this year I was in dialogue with Dr. Harrison. This past May he wrote that the transportation systems are tiered, and after the High School drop off the buses continue on to other routes, servicing Middle and Elementary Schools thus the need for a 6:28 pick up time.
Despite all parties agreeing fundamentally that a 6:30 am pick up time is clearly too early, there has been no resolution. Having a child take a bus at 6:30 am for a 7:50 am start of school time will preclude the bus as a truly viable option.
There are alternatives that can be implemented. For example, a second bus could be added, especially in light of the taxes that are paid to fund precisely these types of services. The 6:30 bus is a complete waste of resources, whereas an additional bus at a later time has increased utility for the members of the community and makes more economic sense. There is a serious traffic and congestion issue at the school every morning, and on more than one occasion it has taken some parents 20 minutes to drive the loop from the bottom of the hill, up to the school and back down again. This creates environmental and economic damage to the community, whereas a second bus has the potential to eliminate much of that gridlock. The lack of a second bus costs more economically to the entire community as a whole.
Additionally, there is the conflict with neighbors at Fieldpoint and parents utilizing that as a drop off area in order to avoid the school loop and hill congestion. If a second bus is not possible, could drop off in the morning be at the church parking lot at the bottom of Heritage Hill Road? This would significantly reduce the time for the overall travel time of the high school bus which in turn could move pick up time to a significantly later time. Possibly, some pick up locations can be consolidated so as to conserve time as well. There are alternative solutions that we as a community need to explore and choose, in order to make the high school bus a viable option instead of burdening each parent with having to drive their student to school in inclement weather.
Finally, there is overwhelming evidence in the field of neuroscience that the adolescent brain needs at least eight hours of sleep at night to properly develop, learn, and consolidate memory. A 6:30 pickup time implies that a wakeup time of 5:30 is required. Having to forfeit much needed sleep and not having time for a proper breakfast at home are health issues that will have a significant negative impact on a teenager. As educators this must be viewed as unacceptable.
We look forward to garnering enough support from the community to get the school to take action in resolving this issue.
Dana Stein, PhD
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