I'm not a musician, but I think that "hammer on" is a way to create a sustained note through continuous pressure on a guitar string. My board member friend, I fear, anticipated an approach much more aggressive and nasty. I can't say I can blame anyone on the board for such a reaction; in New Paltz it's rare to find someone who is willing to debate using truth and logic instead of passion and half-truths. In addition, I'm no stranger to passionately arguing for a position I care about. Hopefully I've learned my lesson.
Now, about those school buses
I've been following a local school bus strike threat for the Shawangunk Journal, and it's quite amazing what I have learned. New Paltz drivers start at $22.90 an hour, while Rondout Valley pays about $23 an hour for its bus contractor. RV's drivers are considering a strike because they make so little, but as it stands now the districts which privately contract are paying a rate per hour that is comparable to our local driver hourly rate.
|How much should busing really cost?|
I've had people tell me that they would not feel comfortable with contract drivers. This is an emotional argument, and I sincerely hope no board member dares consider it. I want facts, and only facts, to make this decision. Facts might include:
- The way that private companies are regulated by the state in comparison to how the district is regulated
- Documented records of safety and screwups.
- A comparison of how often private companies need to send in a substitute unfamiliar with the route versus how often the district needs to do so.
- An analysis of transportation times, both overall and with a substitute at the wheel.
- A comparison of background check requirements.
Starting now, and going forward, I am going to sound a note for privatizing our busing. Unless strong evidence is presented to show that we really need to be spending three, four, or more times what neighboring districts do for their busing (Rondout Valley privatized 19 years ago, and so far their biggest problem is the threat that three drivers will strike), I am going to continue to keep hammering on that note until I am heard. Short of consolidating districts (which is outside the scope of this post), I can see no more effective way to save tons of money with very little downside.