School board ignoring community on bus issue

To the Editor,

I have the utmost respect for the Hancock County School Board, administration and staff. For decades they have worked tirelessly to make our local schools some of the best in the state. However, I do not agree with the decision made by the Hancock County Superintendent to relocate all the Weirton school buses to the New Cumberland garage.

Recently, I voiced my concerns of safety and practicality to the Board of Education. Additionally, the board was presented with a petition of over 900 signatures from the community voicing their discontent for the decision. The presentation highlighted over two dozen major concerns regarding this move. Yet, almost no regard was given to them by the board.

Their response was a “hands off” approach to the decision. Essentially, financial decisions are fair game, but operational safety protocol is not. They will not get involved in operational decisions made by the superintendent. They will hold her accountable for its failure, not preventively intercede. My favorite sound bite of the meeting was when the board president stated he doesn’t owe us an explanation. Last time I checked they were all public service officials and our children were not guinea pigs. When will the superintendent be held accountable for her work? Will it take someone getting hurt to move the rusty gears of change in our education system?

I firmly believe in active citizenry. It is the duty of every American to voice their admonition and contention to the local governing bodies. How else can we, the people, facilitate change and improvement? A peculiar situation herein presents itself. If the local body ignores the community then one must move further up the chain of command and proactively change the public officials unwilling to stop a bad decision before it goes wrong. The Virginia Avenue property in Weirton is accessible to the buses until 2016, which provides the time needed for the superintendent to change her decision. Coincidentally, it is also an election year. Let’s vote to facilitate change for our children’s benefit.

K. Joseph Thomas

Weirton