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Austintown busing issue produced more than enough shame to go around



Published: Fri, August 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Austintown busing issue produced more than enough shame to go around

EDITOR:

I am the parent of two young children who attend Immaculate Heart of Mary School. I have been involved in the busing issues since the parents of parochial students in Austintown were made aware that they were being singled out in an effort to cut costs for busing. I have attended all open meetings and listened to the drafts that were put on the table by the Austintown Transportation Department and superintendent of Austintown schools.

The first draft proposed combing high school students along with all parochial school students and having a transfer take place at Fitch High School. All parents of parochial school students united to say this was unfair, unsafe and discriminated against us as a group. The last meeting was interesting in the fact that the first half hour we were told by Mr. Gessner all the things as parents we did wrong at all the previous meetings. The next half hour we listened to Mr. Heuer read word for word all the statistics that had been passed out at the beginning of the meeting.

Then curiously enough three parents from St. Joseph's school, that had been very vocal at all the previous meetings, had suddenly turned on Mr. Creatore for making a motion at the previous meeting that did not receive a second motion. His plan was to keep the current plan in effect and take the school year to come to a solution together that would be acceptable by both sides. These particular parents were wholeheartedly behind Mr. Creatore at the time of his motion and somehow now seemed to be condemning him for his actions. The last half hour of the meeting consisted of two or three questions being asked by various parents, and no apparent straight answers being given, and these three parents from St. Joseph's standing up looking us in the face and singing the praises of the new plan that was being presented at this last meeting. Now this last plan presented will bus our students with all parochial school students only to St. Joseph's where the transfer will then take place. I have a few words to share with some of the parties involved in these politics here in Austintown. Shame on Collen Bagnoli the supervisor of the Austintown Transportation Department. Your job was put on the line when an outside company came in and said they could cut costs by a certain percentage and you took the easy way out by choosing to cut the smallest group of students using your busing system. Your plans were presented unprofessionally along with being inadequate and unsafe. Shame on Mr. Heuer, the superintendent, for using the divide and conquer technique with the parents. Out of the parochial parents you choose the largest part, St. Joseph's parents, and threw them a bone by saying the transfer would be at their school alleviating their concerns for their children. Shame on the board of education members. You all need to evaluate how out of touch you are with the community you serve ad realize you looked and acted like you were Gods behind the table at these meetings. Enjoy the new offices you voted for and realize your time is limited come election time when people will speak out and speak loudly.

Then curiously enough three parents from St. Joseph's school, that had been very vocal at all the previous meetings, had suddenly turned on Mr. Creatore for making a motion at the previous meeting that did not receive a second motion. His plan was to keep the current plan in effect and take the school year to come to a solution together that would be acceptable by both sides. These particular parents were wholeheartedly behind Mr. Creatore at the time of his motion and somehow now seemed to be condemning him for his actions. The last half hour of the meeting consisted of two or three questions being asked by various parents, and no apparent straight answers being given, and these three parents from St. Joseph's standing up looking us in the face and singing the praises of the new plan that was being presented at this last meeting. Now this last plan presented will bus our students with all parochial school students only to St. Joseph's where the transfer will then take place. I have a few words to share with some of the parties involved in these politics here in Austintown. Shame on Collen Bagnoli the supervisor of the Austintown Transportation Department. Your job was put on the line when an outside company came in and said they could cut costs by a certain percentage and you took the easy way out by choosing to cut the smallest group of students using your busing system. Your plans were presented unprofessionally along with being inadequate and unsafe. Shame on Mr. Heuer, the superintendent, for using the divide and conquer technique with the parents. Out of the parochial parents you choose the largest part, St. Joseph's parents, and threw them a bone by saying the transfer would be at their school alleviating their concerns for their children. Shame on the board of education members. You all need to evaluate how out of touch you are with the community you serve ad realize you looked and acted like you were Gods behind the table at these meetings. Enjoy the new offices you voted for and realize your time is limited come election time when people will speak out and speak loudly.

And last but not least shame on the St. Joseph's parents that were so loud and so opinionated until they realized the last plan was to their advantage. In a time where parochial schools are being closed and a community needs to unite as a collective whole you have driven a stake between us as a Christian community.

I hope you all sleep well at night because as an angry stay-at-home mother that was not very involved in politics here in our little town, I will step up and make the voice of what is right for our children be heard at every chance I get.

IDA McANDREW




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