Board of Education mailbag
As community members, the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education trustees constantly interact with interested citizens. Trustees are often presented with questions about district procedures. In this space, some of those questions will be addressed by the LOCS administrative staff so that other community members with the same queries can find the answer. To submit a question for a future mailbag, contact us at the Communications (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Board (email@example.com) email addresses.
Question: My bus arrival has varied lately. What is the reason for this?
Answer (John Fitzgerald, Assistant Superintendent for Business & Finance): The primary reasons for varying bus time arrivals: changing traffic patterns, unusually high traffic, accidents and construction. As a result, students should expect that the bus will arrive within the range of time indicated on the bus information letter received at the start of the school year. As stated in the letter: “Students should be at the bus stop approximately 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time at (the) stop. Every effort will be made to keep stop time consistent. You will be notified if stop times are altered significantly to route changes (of) more than 10 minutes.”
Question: Who qualifies to ride a bus vs. who is required to walk or find alternate transportation to school?
Answer (Fitzgerald): The district has a board policy for walking ranges. For elementary students, it is ¾ of a mile. For middle school and high school students, it is a 1 ½ mile range. Students who live within those boundaries are not provided busing. In terms of the legal side of it, busing is a privilege, not a right. If the district decides to provide busing, there’s also an obligation to transport to private schools like St. Joe’s that reside in the district boundaries.
Question: How many kids can be in a bus/per seat?
Answer (Fitzgerald): It depends on the size of the bus. Most of our buses are 78-80 passengers. The bus manufacturers claim there can fit three full-size teenagers per seat. LOCS does not typically schedule them that way. At the beginning of the year, more kids ride, then several of them end up driving or walking. So buses are typically more full earlier in the year, then the numbers settle down.
Question: What should a parent do when they have questions concerns about their bus stop or other busing/walking concerns?
Answer (Fitzgerald): If it’s a bus stop issue, or if there are general transportation questions, they can call Transportation at (248) 391-5455. Depending on when they call, be prepared to wait or get a call back because of the operations at certain times of the day.
Question: My child has to walk to school, why is there not a bus stop by in the area? How are bus stops issued? I need mine to be closer to my home.
Answer (Fitzgerald): Bus stops are issued from a transportation and safety efficiency point of view. The intent is to stay out of neighborhoods for the most part, unless there is no other logistical option.
Question: Who patrols the parking lot in the High School?
Answer (Fitzgerald): We have a full-time staff member who oversees the lot throughout the school day.
Topic: Class sizes
Question: What are the maximum class sizes?
Answer (from assistant superintendent Rick Arnett, who oversees enrollment): There are class size limits, which vary by level, in the teacher union contract. The limits: Kindergarten (25), Grades 1, 2 (27), Grades 3-5 (28), Grades 6-8 (31), P.E. Middle School (40), High School classroom (32), Industrial Tech (24), P.E. High School (45).
Question: What happens when a classroom exceeds the limit?
Answer (Arnett): There are multiple options: moving students, additional supplies and materials for the classroom, substitute for the teacher to have some release time, a staff associate which we have a chart that we utilize, hire an additional teacher, or a mutually agreed upon decision. Class sizes are constantly monitored by the LOCS administration.
Topic: Volunteer screening
Question: What is the new volunteer screening process? Why is fingerprinting a requirement?
Answer (Arnett): The change was from a safety standpoint. We do IChat and we have done fingerprinting for well over a year. We determined that the IChat does not give sufficient information on a person’s background. It is specific only to the state of Michigan. The federal registry for fingerprints is a nationwide database. Any individuals who are having constant and continuous access to our students and can forge in-building relationships with those students, we need to do a more comprehensive background check. Those who are making a one-time visit to a building to volunteer are only required to do the IChat. Details on the difference in the situations are available on the Human Resources page here.
Question: What is the fingerprinting process and cost?
Answer (Arnett): There are multiple locations to be fingerprinted. Every location varies by price. The Lake Orion Police Department is the cheapest, at approximately $55. For volunteers, the LOCS policy is to fingerprint the first time and annually after that, to run IChats. A CPL fingerprinting is not a sufficient replacement.