Transporting area students plays an important role in teaching
I am proud to be a first-generation American, the first person in my family to graduate from college, the first and only educator in my family.I have taught in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District since 1985. I have been involuntarily transferred, closed schools, opened schools, and reassigned the grade I was planning to teach two weeks before the school year began. I have taught every grade. I am highly qualified to teach (K-8). I have taught your kids, and have worked with unbelievably talented, professional teachers (who keep raising their API scores), staff and administrators. I have represented teachers in the negotiation process – twice. I have served on fiscal review committees. I have been elected both Tahoe Truckee Education Association vice president and president. I have calmed from the politics and now love my job teaching at Glenshire Elementary. Needless to say, my community of kids, parents and teachers and the general public are important to me.My first statement is addressed to the school board. Our district is still implementing dire financial cuts. I wonder about the latest cuts for transportation. Since my beginning with this district I have stated that “busses literally run the district.” The bus schedule determines starting and ending times of our schools’ day. If the bus doesn’t arrive, I can’t teach.The board decided to cut transportation costs to the bus maintenance department. I’m not a mechanic and remember when we were fortunate to add to the fleet. It makes sense to keep our busses running safely so that students can get to and from school safely. I wonder about how this decision might affect my students lives and education in the future.A few years ago students were late (sometime an hour) to my class. Those students’ parents, from Floriston, had to provide private transportation to Truckee schools. Donner Trail students were voluntarily bussed to their school from other areas of the district at no cost to families. When the previous superintendent realized how ridiculous this situation was, a bus run was returned to the Floriston route and Donner Trail voluntary transfer students continued to be transported free. It seems that today, since 40 students are bussed to the summit (20 students live in the community of the summit), that rather than cutting maintenance costs, which affect all students, why not have voluntary transfer students provide private transportation? This is just one idea that might be considered “out-of-the-box.”My next comment is about the timing of the agenda of the teachers at the most recent board meeting. I was there from beginning to end. I believe the public was misinformed or failed to realize that most teachers were not at the meeting to support closure of Donner Trail School. We, in fact, were originally placed on the agenda before the Donner Trail School item and at the last minute the agenda was changed by the school board. Is this legal parliamentary procedure? At 9:20, most Donner Trail parents had left and all teachers remained. We were the next agenda item. Teachers spoke for the first time at 9:30, exhausted after a day’s teaching and wondering what tomorrow will bring. I would like to clarify that again, the teachers were at the board meeting to inform the board of our frustrations and disappointment at reaching impasse, again, in negotiations. I for one hope all community schools remain open. It’s important to feel part of a community, and our public schools are here for the education of all students.Reina Markheim is a teacher at Glenshire Elementary School.
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