Bus operators care about children

To the Editor,

Lately, there have been many opinions and misrepresentations about the relocation of Hancock County school buses from Weirton to New Cumberland.

First, the meeting in which the promise was given to park the buses at the new Weirton Elementary School was spearheaded by the aid. The cook knows nothing about the transportation department. The head mechanic’s wife has a biased opinion.

Now, let us address the ludicrous argument that a diesel fuel tank at the new school could be a safety hazard. There have been diesel and gasoline fuel tanks located near or at John D. Rockefeller Center, Oak Glen High School and former Weir Middle School. As for bus operators being compensated for bringing their bus in for service, this has been routine for at least 40 years. There is a mechanic who lives in Weirton – he could bring the bus in need of service on his way to New Cumberland with no cost to the county.

Yes, some counties do have one bus garage but others have several or allow their bus operators to keep their buses at home. Our maintenance department could make most of the provisions to park the buses at the new elementary school. Let us not forget that we’re not required to vacate the current location until January 2016.

The No. 1 reason we’re asking this school board and Superintendent Suzan Smith to reconsider this decision is the children. They are and always will be the primary concern of the bus operators. A decision has also been made to consolidate bus runs to transport our middle and high school children together beginning this school year.

The superintendent’s reasoning is to save the taxpayers money. Really? We will still be running 19 buses back and forth from New Cumberland to Weirton twice a day empty, and we’re saving money?

We’re not always given credit by the administration for the job we do. The reason we’re able to see things concerning safe transportation of our precious cargo is because that’s what we do every day. It’d be nice if consideration would be given to our suggestions instead of being quickly dismissed, especially, as we were told by board President Jerry Durante, “we don’t owe you any explanations for our decisions.”

Elected officials do owe the public solid, reasonable, open and accurate reasons for their decisions. We want people to know we care about the children and parents we serve. We are there to greet them daily. We comfort them when they’re having a bad day and laugh at little anecdotes they share with us. They become our extended family. We enjoy our children. So , as you can see, we aren’t just a few bus operators who don’t want to drive to New Cumberland. It is, however, about people who care about our children and community.

Terryn Risk

Weirton