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Letter To Editor

My name is Stacy Hartley and my son will be starting Kindergarten on next Thursday at North Butler Elementary School.  We are facing a problem in that I work in Ohio County at the Hospital, and my husband works from 3am to 3pm in Bowling Green at an Automotive factory.  We are both hard working parents and have no family in this area.  I will be dropping my son off at school in the morning, but apparently there will be no where for him to go in the afternoon.  NBES has no after school program where he could stay at the school until my husband gets home from work from Bowling Green.  We were told last year, that my son would be able to ride a bus from North Butler Elementary, to the gravel lot by the bridge.  He would then switch buses and ride a city school bus to the boys and girls club.  However, after last night at the Kindergarten Meet and Greet, we were told exactly 1 week before school starts, that they were no longer offering that service anymore.  We were at a loss.  There are no child care places on the north side of the river, where he could ride a bus to.  And now we are told that the school system doesn't have the funding to take him to the boys and girls club in Morgantown.  And that if they did reconsider, that it wouldn't be set up until at least 3 weeks after school starts. 

My husband and I both work, we pay taxes, and yet we are told that they cannot provide my son transportation to a child care facility?  I don't know who I need to speak with about all of this.  I spoke with the superintendent last night about the situation and he informed me to call today and we could try to work something out.  However, this morning I called, and he had already planned a vacation day for today!  So now I'm left with no one to speak to about this and school starts on Thursday. 

I'm aware that there is a law for parents stating that parents must take their children to school, and if they don't, there is a possibility that the parents could serve time for violating that law.  My point is, if I am to be responsible for getting my child to school, who is responsible for making sure that each and every child has the same opportunities as far as having transportation home.  I'm not asking him to be taken 30 miles out of town.  I'm simply requesting that he be taken to a child care facility.  I know I am probably not the only parent who is in this situation.  NBES is a wonderful school, and my son has been going there for 2 years in preschool already.  But if I am facing this problem, I know there must be other parents facing the same thing.  I want to know, if you all can help the community with this issue. There either needs to be a bus specifically designated for making sure our children have a safe transportation route to and from school everyday.  Or, there needs to be some sort of after-school program where are children will be safe until those of us who have to work, can pick them up.  Thank you for your time and attention while reading my concerns.

Stacy Hartley



Mrs. Hartley: Perhaps you can hire a baby sitter close to your home who would be able to pick your child up from school or have the child ride the bus to the sitters home until you or your husband could pick him up.
I am interested to see what advice you get. I hope you get answers soon. When we lived in Owensboro my husband and I both got off work after my daughter was already dismissed from school. However, county schools would provide a bus for children to ride to the YMCA. In addition, her elementary school had an after school program. Why is it that at least one of those solutions can not be created by the school system. It is a shame that with all the stresses parents already deal with, you now have to worry about what happens to your child until you get home from work. In addition, the school should have given you all more than a week's notice concerning the change in plans.
I apologize that Mrs. Hartley had to take time out of her busy schedule to write a letter to the media. I spoke to her last Thursday night for the first time. Within five minutes of our conversation and listening to the dilemma she was in, I told her and her husband not to stress about it and I would make sure we would get it taken care of right away. I even told her that I would personally drive a school van over to pick up the Boy's and Girl's Club children if I needed to do so. I was originally scheduled to be out of the district on Friday but I changed my plans that night. I spoke with Mr. Reed, our transportation director on Friday and told him whatever we needed to do to provide a bus for these students, let's make it happen. He immdediately started working on a plan to address this. I have always tried my best to help every parent who has talked to me regarding any issue.

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