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Patch Question: Thoughts on Walking to School After Bus Cuts

Although there is a possibility of transportation to go back to it originally was, there was no bus service for some students on the first day.

While there is a new vote on the bus referendum set for Sept. 19, .

Did your kids have to walk to school when they never did before? If so, how was the walk to school for your kids? Were there crossing guards at dangerous intersections?

Let us know in the comments.

john September 14, 2011 at 06:24 PM
You need to leave Smithtown and go to the city and open your eyes I work with yhe welfare workers and some of them are scamming. Have you been at Smithtowm East thats beautiful are you kidding. Remember the union don't care about our kids they just care about there wallet thats why they pushed to have Joanne a retired teacher on the board. The busing will pass but it should of passed the first time not with a revote.
Marion Knott September 14, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I was a welfare worker before I became a teacher. It was a depressing job seeing people honestly down on their luck and most hated being on welfare. I loved teaching as do many teachers. The union has nothing to do with the state of things. I agree, it was wrong to have a teacher on the Board. I am sure she will recuse herself when negotiations come up. What about Smithtown East. I haven't been there since my last chlld graduated in the 'eighties. Stop getting away from the topic.
john September 14, 2011 at 07:03 PM
You were the one that said the schools are beautiful. Did you know at East last year the roof leaked. a couple of years ago a ceiling fell in there are other problems with the school. West is nice East is a dump.
nesconset dad September 14, 2011 at 07:41 PM
Marion, with all do respect, there a plenty who are (scamming the system)I work for the county and i see it everyday. They no exactly what forms to fill out and how to get there (free) benefits.. I see it everyday.. I do love how compassionate you are about people who have less than others, but you have to draw a line at some point.
nesconset dad September 14, 2011 at 07:44 PM
Let me tell you, you can say what you want about EAST but i would rather send my kids there, than most parts of this country where the education is sub standard.
Argile September 14, 2011 at 08:12 PM
scsddad, I remember when the ceiling fell. My property taxes went up by $600 that year. I guess that was a "teachers inconvenience fee..."
Argile September 14, 2011 at 08:14 PM
My question is, why was cutting services to kids put up for a vote in the first place? Why not ESL? Why not after school sports? Why not music? etc. When property taxes go up year after year and double in a span of 10 years there should be no reason for ANYTHING to be cut!
Smitty September 14, 2011 at 10:29 PM
OMG people! The state requires any change to transportation must be voted on by the community. Unfortunately, our community does not keep themselves aprised of what is happening in either their town or school district so here we are in this predicament!
john September 15, 2011 at 12:14 AM
I agree then they blame everyone else. You need to try to stay informed so you know when the school district is trying to screw you because they will.
Argile September 15, 2011 at 12:38 AM
And people that live beyond the busing zone should have no right to vote on taking away services from other children and putting them in harms way! I wish I could have gone to the meeting cause I would have liked to know if I was going to get a refund due to lack of services.
Christopher D'Antonio September 15, 2011 at 03:04 AM
There are ways to address this issue which involve making Smithtown a greater place to live for all, while also maintaining safety for the students of Smithtown's schools. They involve shared efforts on behalf of numerous entities. The town of Smithtown can address the absence of adequate facilities such as curb ramps, signage, sidewalk, traffic lights, pedestrian timers/signals and bicycle lanes on town roads. Suffolk county is responsible for such facilities on county roads, like Old Willets Path, Smithtown Boulevard, Townline Road, Maple Avenue, Terry Road, and Indian Head Road. New York State is responsible for 347, 25, 111, and 25A. Finally, we as residents are responsible for our own safe and responsible conduct given the facilities available, and when the facilities aren't available, it is our responsibility to make our representatives aware of our desire for them. We should implore better neighborhoods and a better living environment of our elected and appointed officials, where the sidewalks are continuous, modes other than the automobile are respected, and perhaps a place might even be found for the bicycle. That a short trip for our students to school is deemed unsafe, speaks shamefully of us as a community. We have a rich history of bucolic lanes, historic preservation, and a value for life at a reasonable pace, the simple act of walking should not be hazardous.
Christopher D'Antonio September 15, 2011 at 03:16 AM
Before any of our officials take action, which has proven to take considerable periods of time, there are still options available to students and the parents of students within the district. Throughout the country, the National Safe Routes to School Program is funding grants for infrastructure projects like sidewalks and non-infrastructure projects, like innovative programs like Boltage (http://www.boltage.org/). New York expects to begin accepting applications for these grants starting this January, lets motivate our school district and our town officials to apply for them. Throw out as many ideas as you can, some of them are likely to be taken up! At the disposal of our students and parents are also techniques which make walking and cycling to school safer. They are known as walking school buses and bicycle trains and are already in practice acros the country. While teaching children healthy and safe habits, children are grouped together and guided by a few volunteers (typically parents) to school on foot or bicycle, picking up children much as a school bus would. This is little different than St. Andrew's Co-op Nursery School! It is hard to believe that several parent volunteers can't spare the time walking to and from school and rotate on a daily or weekly basis. Finally, in lieu of the lost bus service, the Smithtown School District should make a firm commitment to teach its students all the essential skills they'll need to walk or cycle to school.
Christopher D'Antonio September 15, 2011 at 03:18 AM
In paraphrase of Hauppauge Middle School's principal Mrs. Fletcher, "Make it a great community or not Smithtown, the choice is yours."
One Opinion September 15, 2011 at 12:44 PM
I do agree with the sentiment of what you wrote. However, I think the root of the issue with parents is that Smithtown has some of the highest school taxes in the country. When a family is paying $10,000.00 a year in school taxes and the teachers are making $100,000 year in salary, there is something fundamentally wrong. The loss of busing for the kids was proposed to save money so there there would be enough to cover future salary increases and benefits for the teachers. That, I believe is were much of the anger is coming from.
P. J. Miller September 17, 2011 at 11:23 PM
As many of us feel, even though we had a bus schedule last year, we still had parents driving their kids to school. So the obvious question is: why? If they had buses last year why were they driving their kids to school? Why- because today kids get everything. So I don't think that the no vote was the real issue. If the vote gets passed I expect No cars in the school parking lots, streets etc driving their kids to school, Right? I didn't think so. Still they will be driving them to school. Meanwhile our taxes keep going up because we want and want and give nothing back in return.
Argile September 18, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Kids get everything?! This isn't like giving the kids an iphone and then taking it away! This is transportation to school. This is what we pay insane property taxes for! Kids get driven to school cause maybe they missed the bus. Some carry instruments along with a packpack filled with textbooks. Some kids get driven to school because they're no longer in elementary school and they live within the mile limit. I don't know where you live but where I live there are AT LEAST 50 kids that live within the mile limit of Great Hollow MS that I know of. So please, spare me the "kids get everything" bullsh!t. Are taxes go up because the teachers union treat us like their own personal ATM machine. What's changed with teaching methods from the 1990's when I first moved here till now to warrant my property taxes to go from $5000 to $11,000? Not much. As far as I can see it the only children that are getting everything they want is the teachers union. And what are we not giving back in return? Please tell me, I'd like to hear that one. Cause let me tell you, with the overrated prices of houses coulpled with laughable property taxes the only thing not returning to Long Island are our kids.
Marion Knott September 18, 2011 at 12:45 AM
Teachers salaries on Long Island and Westchester are all high. When I started teaching in 1954, my salary was $3400 and it was fine for a single person living with her parents. We didn't have a union to fight for a better salary but unions did get formed and it wasn't only the salaries that were addressed but conditions teachers were faced with; night meetings, cafeteria duty and no significant raises. Things are different today in so many jobs, not just in education. The bond issue that was voted in to expand our schools so they look so beautiful was passed by the people and we are still paying for that. It's nice that you don't take your anger out on the kids. I don't know what the teachers are negotiating for now, do you? I am a former teacher in the district but my salary was on a part time basis as a teacher tutor for Title 1 but since I didn't need it to feed my family, (my husband's job as Supt. of Schools took care of that.) When he left in the early nineties his salary was that of what teachers are making today but we aren't complaining. We thank God that we are making it. I hear of some salaries in the private sector that are really high and I'm sure they are worth it-I surely hope so.
P. J. Miller September 19, 2011 at 06:53 AM
Teachers are worth every penny - and don't think it is fair to take it out on them. It is disgusting to hear how some of you speak and think, no wonder our world is the way it is.
Argile September 19, 2011 at 11:36 AM
Sorry PJ Miller but there are some bad apples in Smithtown school district.
One Opinion September 19, 2011 at 01:21 PM
These two commentors must be shills for Mr Forsano and the STA. Teachers are worth every penny? According to the unions they are. Show me any industry were you can stay in the same job for 20 years and triple your salary without any accountability to performance. New York state has the highest paid teachers in the country and our SAT scores are below the national average. While children are walking to school teachers in Smithtown walk around complaining with buttons complaining about a lack of contract. I don't blame these teachers. It's the unions that make them comply. During the entire transportation mess not one statement came from the STA. That's because they know it's their pockets that will be lined with the savings from the busing reductions.
Amy Hennig September 19, 2011 at 02:28 PM
The district and town citizens are not your child care. People need to realize when you have a child it is your responsibility. If you can not have a certain job because you have to take your child to school and home, that is something you should have thought about before having children. I do not buy your argument. I feel that more and more people have kids and want to maintain a life style they had before kids, to bad, your a parent now... that comes first. It is not the tax payers job to take care of your children.
Concerned Mother September 19, 2011 at 02:47 PM
To get you all back on track there is a VOTE today! I am asking for my friends who had busing taken away that you VOTE YES!! FOR THE SAFTY OF OUR CHILDREN!!!! We have many children but none to spare!! Yes you will still have people who need to drive their kids to school because with our old guidlines you still had children in the upper grades that have to walk. You also have children who have to bring heavy instruments and sports equipment to school, or school projects. Just reflect on what the past week has shown us. Our schools were not designed to have so many "walkers". It is a safty hazard for most of our schools and I am asking for your VOTE to be a YES for they safty of our kids requardless if you have kids or not! I am doing it for my friends and their CHILDREN!!
Argile September 19, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Amy I agree with you to a point. If you have no children, you should not be paying for MY children. IMO socialized schooling is a failure. However I have a good job and everything on Long Island was affordable till unions got greedy. Now in order for me to continue paying the teachers union I have to work. So what you are saying is I should have to arrive late to work so I can make sure my child get's to school safely now that the district decided to cut bussing? I have a question for you Amy do you own a home and have children?
Marion Knott September 19, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Rob, Quit blaiming the union. Has your salary changed from what it was years ago. I made $3400 a year in my first teaching job; my husband who came on in 1957 made $4200. We, the teachers, were way below the private sector. Now the teachers make a living wage even though the lowest paid teachers don't make nearly as much as the older teachers in the district. I know people in the private sector today making way over $100,000 and they are not even top executives. This is the marketplace we live in. Everything is going up. The grocery store, clothes. Look at LIPA, your phone bill, heating oil, gasoline. No unions involved there. I am glad you are for the children. They are our future.
Positive Note September 19, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Please vote yes today if you haven't already and keep all of our children safe.
Concerned Mother September 20, 2011 at 01:08 PM
Thank You to all that went out to Vote Yesterday! Smithtown has spoken and thankfully we have chosen the saftey of our children was more important then the money we would save by putting them in harms way. THANK YOU!! ;)
Argile September 20, 2011 at 01:32 PM
Guess what Marion, I'm union. And you know what else, I hate it. One word Marion, meritless pay raises. And you know what else? Because of our union's greed we are forced to have furlough days, increased healthcare benefits, and lag pay. But you know what, I'm not complaining. Our other union minions are bitching but I'm not surprised. Greed rears it's ugly head. Oh by the way, I didn't pick my job because it was "union." I had to be in the union to work there whether I liked it or not. That proves the deep corruption of unions today.
Marion Knott September 20, 2011 at 03:45 PM
Rob, For your information, furlough days have nothing to do with teachers' pay. Here in San Francisco we have furlough days; it's probably in most states. It's the overall state of the economy. Of course some teachers shouldn't have their jobs but I truly believe they are in the minority. Think of all the teachers you have had and while most were adequate in your mind, I bet few were really outstanding. One granddaughter had a teacher that did her nails while teaching, planned her marriage and I'm sure she was the exception. Whenever we had a problem with one of our kids' teachers, we arranged a meeting, first with the teacher and then with the administrator. Five kids, eleven living grandchildren. Most had adequate teachers and some were outstanding. Only one or two were really terrible. It's up to the administrators to make sure that they don't just automatically tenure teachers. Too bad you were forced to join a union. I appreciate your comments.
Amy Hennig September 20, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Robkoz, yes I own a home in Smithtown and have 3 small children. I do not get my nails and hair done, and do not take lavish vacations. I stay home with my children. I am committed to them fully until they are older. I breast fed all three. I have a masters degree and will return to work later. I give up a lot for my children. I would not trade it for the world. I do not expect the community to pay for the care of my children. I would only hope for the best education to be provided. Not sports, not buses, not full day kindergarten, not before and after care. Just a good education.
GARY SCHULTZ September 28, 2011 at 03:16 AM
Amy, if you believe an education is just in a classroom, then I feel sorry for how your children will be growing up. Sports and extracurricular activities are immensely important to a child's education. As far as asking the schools to take care of my children instead of my wife and I, that is not close to what I am saying. I will assume your master's degree is not in economics, since you don't seem to realize that cutting my services I pay for and increasing my costs (my RE Taxes have doubled in 10 years) is not an acceptable practice. And where was this busing savings going? To the school's "slush fund". Just what we want. More monies to be misused with no accountability. We pay good money to entrust our schools with our children, my 3 children, that I will do anything to protect, including my wife taking additonal work to afford living in a school district where this was a priority, not to have her nails done. Don't assume that because you breast fed your children and are lucky enough to not need to work, that you somehow care about your children more than the rest of us. Hopeful your children get some time outside of the classroom so they don't grow up with your same pompous attitude.

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