September 10, 2011 in Washington Voices

EVSD bus plan off to rough start

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints painted East Farms School in the East Valley School District on Aug. 27. Church members volunteered in a dozen or more projects around the area.
(Full-size photo)

Many parents in the East Valley School District reported problems with the new busing plan Wednesday when they showed up at bus stops to pick up their children on the first day of school and their children weren’t there.

“It was a disaster,” said Superintendent John Glenewinkel. The district has made changes to its school boundaries and many children are bused to different schools this year. Some students are traveling to schools farther away from their neighborhood schools, and some need to make transfers to different buses before they reach their stop.

Glenewinkel said there was some miscommunication among the district, parents and drivers. Some of the students didn’t get off the bus to transfer to another, some of them couldn’t find their buses and many were left at other schools.

“At no time was any kid in danger,” Glenewinkel said. “At no time was any kid left unsupervised.”

Parent Ada Christensen waited to meet her two children, Julius, a fourth-grader, and Noraa, a second-grader, but her children weren’t on the bus.

“I was really worried and scared,” she said.

She said her children got on the bus at Otis Orchards Elementary School and were supposed to transfer to another bus at Continuous Curriculum School. When they arrived at CCS, they couldn’t find their bus.

When it was clear the buses were gone, Christensen said Julius approached a staff member.

“He was not scared,” she said. “He found help right away.”

Christensen said she picked up her students at CCS. Although she was worried – it was the first time her children had attended public school after being homeschooled –she said her children didn’t seem to be upset by the situation.

“They are really happy” about their first two days in school, she said.

Glenewinkel said there were several staff members available at every school to supervise the students while their parents were contacted.

“We’re fixing it,” he said of Wednesday’s problems. “It was not our level of service.

“It went better today,” Assistant Superintendent Jan Beauchamp said Thursday, the second day of school.

She said staff members were at every location Thursday to make sure students got on the right bus. They also identified areas where they can improve, such as reducing wait time between buses at some schools.

Beauchamp added that as of 4 p.m. Thursday she wasn’t aware of any calls for missing students.

New lunch options in CV school district

Elementary school students in the Central Valley School District now have more options for their hot lunches.

Instead of one entrée for every student, there are now two menu choices and up to six different fruit and vegetable choices from an “offer bar.”

“We know that kids eat better if given a choice,” said Denice Kwate, nutrition services supervisor. “Or goal is to encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables because the only good nutrition is the nutrition that ends up in their bodies instead of the waste can.”

On the first day of school Wednesday, four elementary schools ran out of the 40-pound supply of grapes they received.

For more information about school lunches in CVSD, call the district office at (509) 228-5400.

Administration changes

School districts in the area have made several changes to their administrative positions over the summer.

• Central Valley

Joanne Comer is principal at Liberty Lake Elementary School, she replaces Linda Updike who retired last school year.

Lori Johnson is principal at Broadway Elementary, replacing the retiring Eileen Utecht.

Scott Krentel replaces departing Principal Kevin Longworth at McDonald Elementary.

Sasha Deyarmin replaces Comer as principal at the Central Valley Kindergarten Center.

Lindsay Ehlers is principal assistant at Greenacres Elementary.

Deena Allen is principal assistant at Sunrise Elementary.

The district has eliminated the position of Director of Facilities and Operations which was left vacant when Brad Wayland resigned last October.

• East Valley

Tammy Fuller is principal at East Farms Elementary. She was principal at Mountain View Middle School last year.

Frank Brou is principal at Trent Elementary. He was principal at East Farms last year.

John Myers is dean of students at the Washington Academy of Arts and Technology.

• West Valley

Julie Poage is principal at Contract Based Education.

Tad Heinen is principal at Seth Woodard Elementary School.

Michael Robinson is vice principal at Centennial Middle School.

Barb Knauss is principal at Millwood Early Childhood Education Center and RiverCity Leadership Academy.

Brad Liberg is district career and technical education director and dean of students at CBE.

Stacy Delcour is dean of students at West Valley High School.

• Freeman

Randy Russell is superintendent of Freeman School District. He replaces Sergio Hernandez who retired in June.

• Liberty

Superintendent Bill Motsenbocker will also serve as principal of the elementary and junior high schools.


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