CSD Releases 2011-2012 Bus Schedules

EcoNuke points out that the City Schools of Decatur has posted the bus schedules for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year on its website.

Based on the recently approved bell schedule, all Pre-K, K-3 and Decatur High School bus routes will start at approximately 6:50am and arrive at their destination at 7:30a now.  Fifth Avenue 4/5 Academy and Renfroe routes will begin at 7:45a and end at 8:15a.

Specific routes for each school can be found on CSD’s new Transportation website.

Also according to the CSD website, buses will be doing “dry runs” today. The site reiterates that the CSD “walk radius” around each school is one mile – meaning there’s no bus pickup within a mile of each school – and that bus routes are subject to change based on ridership.  Changes to routes will be posted on the CSD website.

Patch Poses 10 Questions to Decatur Superintendent

Renee at Patch sat down with Decatur Superintendent Phyllis Edwards, who responded to many of the issues swirling around the recent bell schedule.  Here’s just one question and answer to give you a taste…

Q: Did you listen to parents, SLT members and students and their needs throughout the [bell schedule] process?

A: Yes. I believe I did. That’s how I work. I would be happy to have a group of folks interested in this issue and work with them and take this on at a later date. But let’s look at it. Just because 100 or more made up their minds that they want it a certain way and the board has voted a certain way, I don’t get between that. If this is what they want, to revisit the issue, I agree. At a later time, let’s have a longer time discussion and we can do this by midyear next year. We can get all the answers to all the questions. Let’s also make sure we are talking to not just some of the people, but all of the people. Let’s hear what the parents have to say. Let’s poll them. But let’s give them enough time.

The Decatur School Board meets tonight at 6:30p at Westchester, where Board Member John Ahmann has stated that he’ll try to get the bell schedule back on the agenda.

Ahmann Responds to Wisniewski Prior to Tomorrow’s School Board Meeting

Replying to a note that the Decatur School Board Chair Marc Wisniewski sent in to DM the other day, Board Member John Ahmann continues the public conversation with his colleague regarding the already-once-voted-on bell schedule prior to tomorrow night’s meeting, where Ahmann will attempt to get the issue put back on the agenda.


Your recent correspondence to a citizen inquiry has two important errors of fact that I would like to address:

The first is, “…despite claims otherwise, there were not significant facts not already on the table and understood.” The evidence suggests the contrary:

a) I demonstrated at the last Board meeting that the cost estimates provided by Dr. Edwards were closely grossly inflated for the Bell schedule I proposed. Dr. Edwards has yet to correct, for the record, the cost estimates for the Bell schedule I proposed. She estimated $120,000 – $150,000. This is simply not true. Because costs were a significant driver for the decision, an accurate cost estimate is highly material.

b) At the May Board meeting Bruce Rhoaden represented the Decatur High School (DHS) SLT was ok with the earlier start time for the high school. Based on letters from high school members of the SLT, this is not true. In fact, we do not have any formal compilation of SLT parent views on the issue, nor do we have a clear picture of how the larger community perceives the issue.

Continue reading “Ahmann Responds to Wisniewski Prior to Tomorrow’s School Board Meeting”

Decatur School Board Chair Weighs In on Bell Schedule Dispute

Last week, we reported that City Schools of Decatur board member John Ahmann was openly publicizing to the community that he was trying to get the bell schedule, which he had voted against at the last meeting, back on the agenda for June.

In this note to the community, Ahmann proposed a new schedule with later start-times at the middle school and high school and an earlier start for the 4/5 Academy.  He also disputed the costs that the Superintendent projected for his schedule.

Well, the June agenda is now online and Ahmann’s reconsideration of the bell schedule is not included.  This led to a update by a parent – posted on the CSD Parents message board – entitled “Board of Education Chair and Superintendent Ignore Ahmann’s Requests”.  A snippet…

…[John] received NO REPLY from either Marc Wisniewski or Phyllis Edwards to his personal email requests to each of them to have his items placed on the agenda.

…John’s only recourse now is to propose to amend the agenda at the Board meeting, which he said is his intention. He will need a second from another Board member, and then a majority of the Board to agree that his items should be discussed.

This note was forwarded to me many times over the last couple days.  I followed up and received this reply from School Board Chair Marc Wisniewski that he sent to another resident recently, detailing his position on this matter.  Here it is in full…

I hope you know that I have no intention to ‘squelch discourse’ nor to not do what would be good for students. The bell schedule was revisited over 3 successive months – it was time to make a decision. We had heard many pros and cons from many parents. There was a need to begin the planning and organizing process for next year. So last month we voted and reached a decision that took into account the issues on both the bell schedule and the bus contract. We made a decision by a 3 to 1 vote on each (Bernadette was not in attendance). Now the sole person in the minority is seeing to bring the issues up again – there is a proper process for that but it is NOT to have an action item placed on the agenda by the chair or the superintendent. And, despite claims otherwise, there were not significant facts not already on the table and understood.

Continue reading “Decatur School Board Chair Weighs In on Bell Schedule Dispute”

CSD Board Member Wants to Put Bell Schedules Back on the Agenda

After he was the only Decatur School Board member to vote against the new bell schedule for all CSD schools last month, John Ahmann wants the Board to reconsider the item in June.  He recently sent a note out to parents who opposed the recently adopted bell schedule and his letter was posted on a “Concerned Parents of CSD” message board.  He also questions the expense of paying DeKalb County to bus our students around as opposed to CSD lease purchasing its own buses.

Here is his letter in full…

Thank you for your email opposing the City of School’s Decatur (CSD) Bell time schedule for the 2011 –  2012 school year. At the recommendation of the Superintendent, at the May 10, 2011 the Board adopted on a 3-1 vote (1 member was absent) the following Bell schedule:

– Decatur High: 8:00 – 3:00
– Clairemont Elementary: 8:00 – 2:30
– Glennwood Elementary: 8:00 – 2:30
– Oakhurst Elementary: 8:00 – 2:30
– Winnona Park Elementary: 8:00 – 2:30
– Fifth Avenue 4/5 Academy: 8:45 – 3:45
– Renfroe Middle: 8:45 – 3:45

I voted no. I sought to table this Bell schedule for a month to give time for the Superintendent to give clearer and more accurate information on many of the questions raised by myself and the community on the proposed Bell schedule and also examine an alternative Bell schedule with a later high school start time and the 4/5 starting at 8:15. No board member seconded the motion so it failed.

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Decatur School Board Tables “Bell Schedule”, Passes Transportation Plan

There’s already a conversation going on in yesterday’s thread on this subject, but here’s CSD Mom’s report from last night’s Decatur School Board meeting…

Happy to report that the board tabled the vote. They approved the transportation plan with an amendment to remove the bell schedule. They’re going to talk about it further and possibly hold a special session later this month.

I was pleased to see not only parents commenting, but also two Decatur teachers and one DHS student. Dr. E and the board members also commented that they got lots of emails about this, including some from current students.

There was a lot of discussion about getting some creative ideas on the table to sort this problem out, and the general consensus after all was said and done was that there was a lot more thinking to do, and that no one really wanted any of the schools starting before 8 a.m.