Message from the Superintendent
Friday, November 13, 2015
Dear Mansfield Parents:
It has been some weeks since I have written to you with an update regarding our buses. Throughout this fall we have continued of address and investigate any safety concerns expressed by parents. In addition, we have monitored bus arrival times daily. The result is that we did modify some bus stops due to safety concerns. There were other stops that met the safety guidelines included in our policy but we found that we had created enough efficiency that we could add back a few bus stops. This has been possible for morning runs only and only for some neighborhoods. There remain areas of town where we have not been able to accommodate parent requests to return bus stops to former locations.
The afternoon runs are more of a challenge. Again, if we found any stops that did not meet our policy guidelines for safety, we made changes, but there were very few of these. There remain many afternoon bus stops that, although they meet our policy guidelines, do require students to walk longer distances than in the past and raise some concerns for parents. Our current dismissal schedule is very tight and the increased traffic at that time of day adds to our challenges. Although much improved over last year, we still have some buses which arrive very close to, or slightly after, dismissal at the middle school and many buses at the elementary schools which arrive up to ten or more minutes after dismissal. At this time there is little else we can do to address afternoon bus runs.
The good news is that steps taken by Durham School Services to increase their pool of bus drivers have been successful and it has been several weeks since we have been short a driver. In addition, we have used our experiences to help us develop new specifications for our next transportation contract. We are exploring several changes which should result in better service for our students in the future. I expect I will have more to share with you in the spring.
In the meantime, and throughout the winter, we will work with our public works department to maintain safe conditions for students as they walk to and from bus stops and wait for buses in the morning. The various school and town departments in Mansfield enjoy extremely cooperative relationships and we have already talked about the attention our roads will need in the winter. We will also continue to monitor bus arrival times and driver staffing to ensure the level of service we have been receiving recently continues.
I thank you for your cooperation as we worked through issues this fall and look forward to using my next communication to share with you many of the wonderful things I have experienced in my first months in Mansfield!
Kelly M. Lyman
Superintendent of Schools, Mansfield Public Schools