One of the biggest concerns for District 122 parents this year , and on Thursday the Board of Education will review the impact of potentially reverting back to old pickup times.
Last year, the school board changed bus times that allowed the district to cut 16 drivers and 19 buses, saving about $372,000 to help reduce the district's budget deficit. It moved the drop-off times for grades 4-6 to 7:30 a.m., junior high and morning kindergarten at 8:20 and grades 1-3 at 9:10.
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These moves concerned some parents who thought the start time was too early for younger kids, and they said they would also need to make new after-school plans because junior high students were still in class.
Board President Nick DiSandro asked administrators to review various options and their financial implications, and the board will discuss them at its Thursday meeting. At that time, the board will also determine the best way to get parent input.
One method for input that's already been used is a survey that was administered during parent-teacher conferences this fall that included a question about transportation. District spokeswoman Jenny Zimmerman said the results are being compiled and will be reviewed by the board this week.
Supt. Mike Sass has been adament that anyone who wants to change back to the old schedules should be ready to propose where they'd make up the $372,000.
“I’d be very careful how we ask the question," Sass said in a June meeting. "We can ask, ‘Do you want X to happen?’ Well, of course. ‘But what if we do X and take away Y?’”
That was the sentiment of the question directed at parents, asking if they would still support changing the schedules if it meant cutting teachers. That rubbed some parents the wrong way, calling it a "terrible" question on New Lenox Patch's Facebook page.
"A question posed as if you didn't agree with the bus schedule then automatically you were for teacher firing and cutting school activities," one parent said on Facebook. "The school board needs to figure things out and not treat parents like they're idiots."
After the first day of school, on Facebook, with reactions that ranged from calling it "a huge struggle" to one that said "it was nice to have one-on-one time with each child."
The cuts were part of a $3.2 million budget deficit reduction plan approved last February. Thanks to a surprise surplus, the district .
The board's meeting this week is an annual strategic planning session to discuss potential changes for next year. No votes are cast, and there is no section for public comment on the agenda because this isn't a regular meeting. The board meets from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the .