Monday, January 12, 2009

Eliminating School Bus Monitors


I rec'd a note yesterday from my friend the D'Amicos regarding school bus monitors. You likely know Lou & Denise- "Lou's Hot Dogs." One of the guv's supplemental budget suggestions is to repeal the law mandating these monitors to save the local school district $ while he cuts their State aid.

Now I remember why this law was started. Kids got killed by school buses. Since this law was passed, and BTW, Middletown voluntarily started the bus monitor program, No Student has been killed by a local bus.

She was a first grader as I recall. She was getting off her bus at the end of the school day. Somehow the bus driver did not see her and started the bus to finish his route. You can figure out the rest. We planted a tree in her memory outside of Aquidneck School. It blooms in the Spring. Not much.

Since that time efforts have been made to improve school safety- those folding bumper gate have been added (much like at the Pell Bridge) along with an outside address system. You now can see and hear when busses are stopping, reminding other drivers to do the same. Monitors come out to help students safely cross, then check under the bus- front and back- before leaping back onto the bus which only THEN engages.

These monitors don't make a heckuva lot; likely not much more than minimum wage. They work odd hours, not the entire day & are out in all kinds of weather. And most importantly, not a single student has been killed by a school bus driver not seeing a little kid in their way.

So how much is that worth?

BTW, all of the following names either read or aware of this blog. Please post or send me your comments or thoughts. It can't hurt.

Here is the letter. Sophie Pendergast (her name is given as contact person) is the mother of that young student:

Dear Friends & Family,

I have a very important request.The Governor has proposed budget cuts that will eliminate school bus monitors. If passed, this will present significant danger to children who ride school buses in Rhode Island. I am attaching a letter for you to email to Governor Donald L. Carcieri, Steven M. Costantino, Chairman of the House Finance Committee, Theresa Paiva-Weed, Senate President, your local legislators and to any other members of the state legislature you choose.

This letter expresses your opposition to eliminating monitors. Please email the attached letter to each person individually. If you are unsure how to e-mail the letter, instructions are provided at the end of this e-mail.
Calling your legislators is very powerful! We implore you to consider calling after you send your e-mail.Please forward this email to all your friends and family in Rhode Island. This issue affects all of us and it will take lots of voices to be heard!
Finally, please copy FISST@cox.net when you email your legislators. This will help us track our progress.

You can look up your Senate and House of Representatives District by going to http://www.sec.state.ri.us/vic and entering your name, date of birth & zip code. I have listed the names, email addresses and phone numbers of the Newport County legislators below.

If you live outside Newport County and are unsure of who you should contact, please email: Families Insisting on Safe Student Transportation at FISST@cox.net

Or call one of us:· Sophia G. Pendergast at (401) 846-8513· Julie A. Mott at (401) 225-1791

We will happily provide any information you need very quickly. Thank you for your support of this very important issue!

Send an email to Governor Donald L. Carcieri Governor of the State of Rhode Island rigov@gov.state.ri.us 222-2080

Send an email to Representative Steven M. Costantino Chairman of the House Finance Committee rep-costantino@rilin.state.ri.us, 521-1313

Send an email to Senator Theresa Paiva-Weed Senate President Senate District 13 Newport & Jamestown 316 State House Providence, RI 02903 sen-paivaweed@rilin.state.ri.us 222-3110

AND… Send an email to your Senator and Representative

Senate District 11 Bristol & Portsmouth Senator Charles J. Levesque sen-levesque@rilin.state.ri.us 683-9194

Senate District 12 Little Compton, Middletown, Newport & Tiverton Senator Louis D. DiPalma 24 Sail CourtMiddletown, RI 02840 sen-dipalma@rilin.state.ri.us 847-8540

Representative District 69 Bristol, Portsmouth Representative Raymond E. Gallison 50 King Philip Avenue Bristol, RI 02809 rep-gallison@rilin.state.ri.us (508) 677-4235


Representative District 70 Portsmouth & Tiverton Representative John G. Edwards

Representative District 71 Little Compton, Portsmouth & Tiverton Representative John J. Loughlin II 105 Preservation Way Tiverton, RI 02878 rep-loughlin@rilin.state.ri.us 625-9889

Representative District 72 Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport Representative Amy Rice 438 Bramans Lane Portsmouth, RI 02871 rep-rice@rilin.state.ri.us 841-0505

Representative District 73 Middletown & Newport Representative J. Russell Jackson 10 Xavier Terrace Newport, RI 02840 rep-jackson@rilin.state.ri.us 848-7979

Representative District 74 Jamestown & Middletown Representative Deborah L. Ruggeiro rep-ruggeiro@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative District 75 Newport Representative Peter F. Martin1 ½ Willow Street Newport, RI 02840 rep-martin@rilin.state.ri.us 924-2402

The next post is the letter.
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