J-M uses status quo to settle busing issue
Three current non-public routes will be maintained; routes with no riders deemed impractical
Johnstown-Monroe Superintendent Damien Bawn considers the district's controversial busing issue "settled."
District parent Michael Rush, who has represented parents of children who attend non-public schools, agreed with Bawn, simply saying, "I would agree that the transportation issue is a settled issue."
The Johnstown-Monroe Board of Education decided Nov. 19 to continue transporting students who live in the district and attend non-public schools for three current routes: Granville Christian Academy, St. Francis and Blessed Sacrament in Newark and St. Matthew School in Gahanna.
However, routes that currently have no riders were discontinued indefinitely.
"If we have no kids riding on the routes, they were voted as impractical. If there are riders, they were voted to continue," Treasurer Tammy Woods said.
Should students move into the district who plan to attend one of the schools deemed impractical, Woods said, the district will not transport those students.
She said the board voted to declare transportation to Liberty Christian Academy in Pataskala as impractical. No riders currently are on the route.
Woods said both Grace Christian School in Blacklick and Columbus Academy in Gahanna are ineligible for transportation because it takes longer than 30 minutes to transport students to these schools and Ohio law does not require public schools to transport students to non-public schools that are more than half an hour away from a public school. No current riders are on either route.
Even though some of the continued routes were slightly longer than 30 minutes, the board voted to continue them anyway.
The board voted on each route individually.
Woods said the board voted 5-0 to deem the routes with no riders as impractical.
As for the no votes, Woods said, board members Amy Ramey and Jim Dodderer voted against continuing to transport students to St. Matthew and Dodderer voted against continuing to transport students to St. Francis and Blessed Sacrament. The remaining board members voted in favor of continuing the routes.
Dodderer said his reasons for voting against some of the routes were purely financial, but he is not disappointed that a majority of board members disagreed with him.
"It's hard to justify the cost per child," he said. "But, I think that when the five of us vote, that's the way it should come out. I'm glad we were able to get this settled and move on."
Ramey said the data on which board members based their decisions will be posted on the district's website, johnstown.k12.oh.us, likely after Thanksgiving.
"I'm happy it's resolved now," Ramey said. "It needed to be."