CANCEL HOUSTON ISD MAGNET HUB PLAN
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Given the inconvenience it will bring to working parents, I am petitioning for the HISD Routing and Scheduling to stay as it was, because that has worked relatively well as it was for over 30 years.
I am an HISD parent. I live within HISD boundaries, but in a neighborhood where there is no school within safe walking distance of my home. The kids that attend the zoned schools typically ride an HISD bus. Also, given that my husband and I both work, it is not possible for either of us to be available to drive the kids to & from a magnet hub on a daily basis. Additionally, since we have 3 kids (one at each level - ES, MS, HS) attending HISD magnet schools, how likely is it that the hub start and stop times will all be at the same place & time? Highly unlikely. Therefore, even if we were able to drive to and from the selected magnet hub before and after work, we will have to either drive to multiple hubs and/ or wait at one for an extended period of time, given that the school start-end times are staggered such that the elementary child will get out of school first. What working parent thought this was a good idea? This is inconvenient and in most cases prohibitive.
As such, the magnet hub idea does NOT seem like the solution. Parents of magnet students will have to choose whether to rely on Uber/ Lyft/ METRO (which is not feasible for those parents of younger children), secure after-school care and/or transportation (for a fee that most can’t afford), or withdraw their kids from the magnet programs altogether (which affects district funding). To assume that the source of the issue that needs to be corrected is simply lengthy travel times is short sighted and demonstrates a failure to perform any root-cause analysis to determine the real issue and the best resolution.
So how do you resolve this issue while also ensuring that all students arrive to school safely and on-time? For starters, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Leave the routes as they were. Bring back the Bus Tracking app, offer competitive benefits packages for bus drivers, consider incorporating attendance incentives for service employees, and conduct thorough new driver training to help give new drivers the tools needed to avoid getting overwhelmed. These small changes will go a long way in correcting the Transportation fiasco of the 2017-2018 school year.
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