Thursday, January 3, 2008

[LCSD] Good Thing Winter Break is Almost Over...

... because my blood pressure just went back to pre-break levels.

From a story in the DH today regarding the possibility of the LCSD busing Sand Ridge students:

PIE has asked for busing in the past, but the district wasn’t willing, Jackson said. His request now is prompted by a Dec. 26 letter from City Manager John Hitt, which said the city has concerns about traffic caused by the school’s South Main Road campus and asking if PIE would look into busing.

Oregon law states charter schools are responsible for transporting their students, but also says sponsoring school districts must treat transportation for charter students “in the same manner as students attending nonchartered public schools.” Districts are not required to add buses or routes for charter schools.

What that means, said Cindy Hunt, legal affairs coordinator for the Oregon Department of Education, is charter kids can ride district buses but the district is not required to provide buses specifically for them.

Jackson said his reading of the law is that the district is responsible for Sand Ridge’s transportation.

“All I’m trying to do is bring the language of the contract in line with what the statute provides,” he said.

Superintendent Jim Robinson said Lebanon is following the law. If Lebanon provides busing to Sand Ridge, he said, “There would be definite financial and staffing impacts, as well as issues of the buses, whether we have a sufficient fleet.”

Let's take this apart a little, shall we?

The quote from Cindy Hunt makes clear the intent and effect of the law: That charter schools can essentially ride for free on existing district routes - but not that districts are required to change their routes or develop charter school-specific routes.

And this makes sense; the marginal cost for charter students to piggyback is negligible, but there is a substantial cost for the district to bus charter kids specifically. Robinson's quote backs that up (notice he does not rule out having the LCSD bus Sand Ridge students, just that he notes the cost - this could be suggestive of the district's position on the issue come negotiation time).

From this premise, I can see it being reasonable that PIE pay for any busing services above and beyond existing routes. After all, while Robinson has stated he wants to see Sand Ridge survive, he can't simply give them money that otherwise belongs to (and is needed in) the LCSD.

Sadly, I don't think that's what Jay Jackson has in mind. His "reading" of the law suggests that he wants the LCSD to essentially pick up the tab for busing the Sand Ridge students.

I thought Jay Jackson was an attorney. Either his reading is flat-out wrong, or he's lying again and has consciously chosen a reading that is transparently bullshit. I almost don't care which one it is, because both make him look like an opportunistic weasel.

I'm going to say the same thing here that LT has been saying for months: How is it right that Jackson keeps asking for the district to divert money from other areas to pay for Sand Ridge? Shouldn't PIE have to budget for this sort of thing?

How is it that Jackson gets to keep lying to the press without the press calling him on it? [And I get that having the information in the story that proves Jackson wrong is a form of calling him on it, but I want something more substantial: If Jackson is lying, and the reporter knows it, then the reporter should be able to say that in the story. It is the truth, after all.]



Anonymous said...

The Lebanon Express has a story online that shows maybe the city's concern about traffic isn't founded on facts.

Dennis said...

I saw that. Traffic seems a secondary concern in both articles, you'll notice that I didn't really comment on it.

The Express story is here.

Anonymous said...

Sand Ridge Parents ought to be REALLY concerned at all the shenanigans going on over there. They are being used by PIE as human shields.

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