Roundup: Feeling the Sting of the Sequester Cuts

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The purported effect of sequestration cuts on federal spending is said to be the reason behind numerous and lengthy flights delays at airports across the nation and, according to the Wall Street Journalan effort by the Senate to loosen the bottleneck. The FAA has, under an agreement with unions,  implemented furloughs of air-trafffic controllers at airports large and small, busy or quiet, in response to the cuts in federal spending.

However, the Senate has been mum on a 5-percent reduction in Head Start funds retroactive to Jan. 1 as well as cuts to special education under IDEA and to Title I. As reported in our April magazine editionthe result of these cuts is expected to be additional employee furloughs if not outright layoffs and more reductions in bus routes and other educational services that could hurt transportation.

Things, however, could be changing. The National Head Start Association (NHSA) said conversations are now turning to funding of the federal program for educating low-income preschoolers and toddlers.

“We are heartened that the focus on the sequester has shifted to the devastating impact the budget cuts are having on the children served by Head Start,” said Yasmina Vinci, executive director of NHSA. “It is deplorable that the effort to balance the nation’s budget is being done at the expense of our nation’s most vulnerable children. We are hopeful a resolution can be found soon that will ensure the 70,000 children at risk of losing access to Head Start can continue to benefit from the vital Head Start services that place them squarely on a pathway to lifelong success.”


Recently the Minnesota Special Education Transportation Committee, in cooperation with the Minnesota Association of Pupil Transportation, sponsored the 11th annual Annual Special Education Transportation Awards Program to identify and recognize the best school bus drivers and transportation assistants servicing Minnesota students with special needs. Thanks to sponsorship dollars received from vendors, MAPT is awarding the first place special education driver and first place special education transportation assistant the opportunity to receive training at no cost to the school district or contractor. 

 

We’d like to recognize the 2013 special education driver and assistant winners:

Special Education Drivers:

1st Place: Tom Thaxton, Eden Prairie Schools #272

 2nd Place: Frank Voigt, Pierz Schools #484

3rd Place: Tom Foy, Bloomington Public Schools #271

Special Education Transportation Assistants:

1st Place: Kristi Hatterschide, Eden Prairie Schools #272

2nd Place: Diane Perusse, Osseo Area Schools #279

3rd Place: Jodi Barnes, Voigt’s School Bus Services


Illinois could soon be the latest state to approve video evidence to prosecute motorists who illegally school buses. The state Senate approved SB 0923 on Wednesday, and the bill now heads to the state House. If passed and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn, video showing motorists ignoring the stop arm and flashing red lights would be subject to a $150 fine for a first offense.

 

 


 

R.L. Polk released data that indicates the registrations of hybrid and diesel cars and trucks are up by 33- and 24 percent, respectively. The Diesel Technology Forum responded that the figures prove hybrid and clean-diesel technolgoy are “showing consistent and impressive growth patterns.”


Texas school districts were busy this month conducting bus safety road-eos. The Texas Association for Pupil Transportation’s Centex Chapter held its school bus safety road-eo April 13 at Comal ISD, located in New Braunfels, right in between San Antonio and Austin. A big thanks to Director of Transportation Gus Rodriguez for sending us the information. CISD spans 589 square miles of central Texas, including parts of five central Texas counties: Comal; Bexar; Hays; Kendall; and Guadalupe. 

 

We’d also like to recognize all of the winners from this road-eo. It goes to show that despite challenges, school bus drivers are dedicated and determined to provide a level of safety, good judgement and service to not just their superiors, but to students.  

Conventional Bus Road-eo Region 13 Winners:

1st. Place: Martin Monsivais, Austin ISD

2nd. Place: Nichole Lemore, Leander ISD

3rd. Place: Rebecca Alejandro, Hays CISD

Transit Bus Road-eo Region 13 Winners:

1st. Place: Jeri Smith, Lake Travis ISD

2nd. Place: Cherrie Kinsey, Hays CISD

3rd. Place: Kerry Bekkedahl, San Marcos CISD

Special Needs Bus Road-eo Region 13 Winners:

1st. Place: Bobby Minjarez and Attendant Edith Fairchild, Hays CISD

2nd. Place: Steven Nguyen and Attendant Jackie Lee, Austin ISD

3rd. Place: Frank Nanyes and Attendant Christina Campbell, Austin ISD

Conventional Bus- Road-eo Region 20 Winners:

1st. Place: Shanon Taylor, North East ISD

2nd. Place: Michael Castaneda, North East ISD

3rd. Place: Jean Pierce, Southwest ISD

Transit Bus Road-eo Region 20 Winners:

1st. Place: Susan Aldrich, Southwest ISD

2nd. Place: Linda Trinidad, Harlandale ISD

3rd. Place: Marlena Senter, Harlandale ISD

Special Needs Bus Road-eo Region 20 Winners:

1st. Place: Rose Marie Aguilar and Attendant Viola Elizondo, Southwest ISD

2nd. Place: Karen Hardaway and Attendant Barbara Niezgocki, North East ISD

3rd. Place: Gloria Guerra and Attendant Dora Jimenez, Southwest ISD