CALCIUM Sorry, Indian River athletes. Not this year.
Indian River Centrals Board of Education decided Thursday to follow a recommendation by Superintendent James Kettrick and Business Manager James R. Koch not to add later bus runs until they can be budgeted for next year.
The discussion unfolded at a meeting two weeks ago when Juan C. and Aurora M. Rodriguez asked the board to consider late bus runs for student athletes. Two of their children play junior varsity and varsity football, and Mrs. Rodriguez has to wait an hour in the high schools parking lot almost daily because the two teams end practice at different times.
Deep budget cuts in 2004 eliminated the 4:40 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. bus runs. Mr. Kettrick remembered that was the year 51 staff members were laid off.
At Thursdays meeting at Calcium Primary, Mr. Koch recommended using five or six buses to fill the need. Athletic Director Jay M. Brown suggested a 5:30 p.m. run. The late run would require drivers willing to work the hours; an aide at the school for an additional hour daily to supervise the students; and an added position called a student mediator who would shepherd students onto buses.
Mr. Koch suggested three drop-off points for students who live on Fort Drum and said buses can drop students at their homes if they live in a remote location like Oxbow.
The total cost would be $125,000 a year, including $80,000 for gasoline and drivers pay, Mr. Koch said. He recommended the board revisit it when discussing next years budget.
Board member Robin R. Johnson said the district should not wait until next year.
I would like to see bus runs added now, she said.
Board member Linda M. Capone expressed concern about the cost. I have nothing against runs, but we have a budget in place, she said. This is all brand new spending that is not included in the budget.
Board member Donald L. Brumsfield agreed, saying the small components would add up.
Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez were disappointed by the decision. To them, 40 junior varsity players out of 45 needing a late bus necessitated more runs to relieve parents of having to pick them up. As an Army family, they have moved several times and said this was the only district that did not offer late bus runs for student athletes.
Mr. Rodriguez worried there might be students who want to try out for sports who do not drive or have a parent free to pick them up.