Monday, June 23, 2008

Parents forced to waste gas, no one cares.

In nearly every tale of childhood, a school bus plays some role. Be it merely a vehicle with which to journey to and from school or even a setting itself, school buses are synonymous with idyllic childhood joy. There’s even a brand of bread that uses a school bus as its logo. School buses were important places in such popular and memorable films as Napoleon Dynamite and Forrest Gump. And yet, the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) provides no such service for its 13,225 students. I find this extremely worrying. There ought to be a law requiring school districts to provide transportation for at least half of its constituents.

With such a law, at the bare minimum, the students living furthest away from their enrolled school would have a reliable method of transportation every morning. Providing students with this service will lower pollution, as fewer cars will be on the road every morning and afternoon; lower stress, as parents won’t have to get up as early just to transport their kids; and lower traffic, as again fewer cars will be on the road in the morning and afternoon. It would lower roadway repair costs and fuel expenses for parents. There is another advantage to waiting until now to enact this: the buses can be hybrids, or even purely electric vehicles, saving even more on fuel, and enabling the program to be run relatively inexpensively. It would create a whole new set of jobs in Livermore, invigorating our economy while the rest of the nation is sliding into recession.

I can see a world in which every morning, our school children walk to a location a few blocks away and are promptly met by a gleaming yellow bus. The door opens, and a smiling bus driver says “good morning children! All ready for school today?” and the children file on, ready to learn, play, and laugh their way through another school day. At the end of that day, the children walk outside their school to find the same big yellow bus waiting for them to get on. This time, the bus driver says “Good afternoon, children. All ready to go home and play?” and the children file on, laughing and talking to their friends. As it is now, each morning parents drag themselves and their children out of bed, with their kids protesting and feigning illness in attempts to convince their parents not to take them to school. With the parents in a cloudy haze, well before the coffee kicks in, they drive dangerously fast down the road to school, where they wait in ten to twenty minutes of traffic before they can stop and let their kids out. Less than six hours later, the parents drive up to the school and sits in another massive queue to pick their children up, and wait yet another five to ten minutes just to exit the parking lot or street in which they picked their child up. Which would you choose?

I call on each and every one of those reading this to speak up! Make you complaint heard! Call Brenda miller, superintendent of LVJUSD at (925) 606-3281! Call the mayor, Marshall Kamena, at (925) 960-4020! Call one of Livermore’s city Council Members, Doug Horner, Marj Leider, John Marchand, or Jeff Williams at (925) 960-4010! Call the Board of Education! Tom McLaughlin and Bill Morrison, whose terms are up for re-election in November of this year, can be reached at (925) 443-1895 and (925) 454-9256 respectively. Also serving are Anne White, (925) 443-3106; Kate Runyon, (925) 454-1339; and Bill Dunlop, (925) 455-1907. Make your voice heard and your vote count! Don’t stop calling until you get a satisfactory answer! Elect the candidate who promises to fix this issue, and stay on them until they do!

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