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Will the wheels on the bus turn toward the daycare?

Will the wheels on the bus turn toward the daycare? Will the wheels on the bus turn toward the daycare?

“I feel strongly on this one.”

That’s what Cornell School Board treasurer Stephanie Seidlitz said about possible pick-up of students at Cornell’s only daycare, located on Main Street. Kids First Childcare serves 20 families, with 35 kids, eight of whom go to the Cornell School District.

The matter was discussed at a regular Cornell School Board meeting Dec. 23, with Kids First owner Tammy Morgal on hand to answer questions.

“The community needs this daycare,” said Seidlitz, “so I feel we should be supporting the daycare, like they support our district.”

Seidlitz said with recent weather dropping into negative 30 degrees, with a wind chill, it’s risky for kids in 4K through sixth grade to walk the long way in the mornings.

Board clerk Eileen Sikora agreed that weather is a concern, as well as safety aspects for the younger students.

“I understand both sides of it,” said board member Jamie Close.

Close says he thinks the district needs to talk to Pat Sime, the owner of the bus company for the district. Morgal said she had talked to Sime when she started the daycare and he told her the buses were not allowed to pick up kids at the business, because of the busing contract with the school.

“So what do we have to do?” asked Sikora.

Seidlitz said she talked to Pat’s son, Eric, asking what thoughts he could provide.

“His (Eric) thought was, then, are we picking up every kid in the city?” said Seidlitz. “I said, nope, not at all, that’s not what I’m talking about.”

Eric also mentioned having to add another bus and driver if they picked up at the daycare, and that it is hard to find drivers the way it is.

“I think we need to discuss it,” said Close.

Having received a few comments from district parents, Close acknowledged the buses do pick up CCD kids and take them to the Catholic church, but says that service is paid for by the church and has nothing to do with the district. Close said the matter the board could face, is that every parent will want every kid picked up in the city.

There are designated pick-ups by Osborne Street, as some of the kids didn’t have sidewalks to walk on for safety. All kids (who want to be) are also picked up south of State Hwy. 27.

State law says the school doesn’t have to pick up within two miles of the school, as it is the parents’ responsibility to see their child gets to school, unless the students’ path crosses a dangerous roadway or railway.

See DAYCARE BUSING/ Page 3 Superintendent Paul Schley said school officials would have to talk to Pat for cost and how the daycare busing would work, as well as a preferred pick-up area.

“It depends on which bus,” said Schley. “Some of the buses get fairly full in the morning.”

“I don’t think anybody has any issue picking up the daycare,” said Close.

Sikora said the proposed changed policy might want to stipulate that only daycare kids get picked up. Seidlitz said there is a bus stop not far from the daycare.

“Why don’t we make the stop at one of the corners (by the daycare)?” asked Seidlitz.

Schley said the district has been approached by parents with young kids who live a couple blocks away, who have requested transportation.

“Be ready for that,” he said. “You’re going to have to draw a line.”

If it was 20 years ago, Sikora said she would have dismissed the notion of picking up the daycare kids and said to let them walk.

“But in today’s world, you don’t think about that,” said Sikora.

“The parents need to have some responsibility,” said Close.

Board president Lyle Briggs asked what time the kids are dropped off at daycare in the morning. Morgal said the kids are there by 7 a.m., because the parents have to be at work.

“Do they need to be dropped off at the daycare, too, at the end of the day?” asked Briggs.

Morgal said most of the kids come there from school, but that numbers fluctuate, because of after-school or other activities. She said one of the biggest issues she and the kids face, is drivers on the roadway, as people don’t use turn signals or want to wait for the kids to cross the road, even when the youth are in the middle of the crosswalk.

“It can be challenging, because some of the people, they blow through the four-way stop right in front of the police station,” said Morgal.

Greg Baker, board vice president, said he thinks the district should see if the school van is an option, that way, a staff member could pick up the kids. Schley says it could be an option, but that the van probably would only fit eight students, not taking into consideration the required booster and car seats for younger students.

“To me, something should definitely be looked at,” said Sikora.

The rest of the board agreed that the school will delve into the matter and see what impacts the busing would have on students in the area, as well as talking more with the Simes. If the board wants to move forward with changing the busing, the policy would be approved at a later date.

“You just have to figure out how you want it to work and how it works best logistically,” said Schley.