Letter to the Editor

Improved transportation through annexation

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dear Editor:

In early September I observed a NEVC bus route at a safe distance from departure at Walker to arrival at the Schell City campus. I understand that this caused concern for some residents and parents, and I apologize for that.

Rhonda Wallen (El Dorado Sun) covered the Aug. 19 NEVC meeting and wrote about parental concerns that were relayed by Mr. Naas, "He said no parent, especially the parents of pre-school, kindergarten and the lower grade students, want their child riding a bus two to three hours a day and that is what it would be; the distance won't get shorter."

I had heard from many parents in my neighborhood that their children were riding the NEVC bus over three hours per day. I verified that the initial student picked up rode the bus for 1 hour 40 minutes on the morning trip; add the time to get the NEVC student home and you have a total of more than three hours per day.

So I ask Mr. Naas, are you concerned about the NEVC students and the time they must spend on the buses? Maximum ride time is set by local school boards without any restrictions by Missouri statues or State Board of Education Regulations (source DESE).

Not knowing the exact number of NEVC bus routes, but with only two bus drivers listed on staff, I estimate that NEVC has to cover approximately half of the Nevada R-5 district with only two buses leaving Walker. The lack of back-up buses was evident when the district used Nevada R-5 buses during the initial week, since the NEVC buses did not run from apparent lack of inspection before school started.

The current NEVC budget for transportation is $120,000 and the state has decreased their part to $40,000, and it could be reduced even further.

In the Nevada R-5 district there are 25 rural routes and seven city routes, with over 50 buses available (source Nevada R-5 Web site), covering twice the geographic area of NEVC; simple math can determine that students are transported more efficiently with less time. By the NEVC board decision, their current students spend much more time on buses than Nevada R-5 students today.

Annexation to Nevada R-5 could improve transportation by access to a much greater fleet of buses, reduce back tracking with increased number of routes, and probably transport students from Schell City with less time. The reverse trip home could be impacted by students in activities and require parents coordination to minimize individual inconvenience. I view this as a positive for the children, with increased after school activities, and many parents work in Nevada to assist in transporting. Thus, I propose that annexation could actually solve transportation problems, making it more affordable and most important convenient for the children.


Greg Wortman

NEVC taxpayer and voter