This article by Lisa Philip was all over social media yesterday, carrying the news that Council member Jon Weinstein has spearheaded an initiative to provide late buses so all students can participate in after-school activities. My first reaction was: wait, we don't already have late buses?
I went to high school in Stamford, Connecticut and we had late buses. In fact they ran twice daily: a four thirty bus and a five thirty bus. And their were two routes for our school, a north route and a south route. We just took that for granted. You could stay after school to work with a teacher, do research in the Media Center, play sports or attend a theater rehearsal.
But the Stamford, Connecticut school district had exactly three high schools at that time. And while they did provide late buses, they didn't provide food service in any of the schools in the system. They must have at some point because all the schools were set up to have it, but it was considered no longer affordable. We had vending machines to supplement our brown bag lunches. I remember ice cream sandwiches fondly, and yes, they did sometimes stand in for an actual lunch.
So I don't want to jump on Howard County for not already having late buses, because it's a very large system, and if I had to choose between late buses and kids eating, I'd definitely go with the latter. On the other hand, at a time when administrative positions and salaries at Central Office are ballooning and actual student services in schools are being reduced, it does seem odd that Mr. Weinstein had to reach out to community businesses to fund a project which is essentially a student service.
Good for them, and Mr. Weinstein, for seeing the need and stepping up to respond to it. Wouldn't it be great if the school system did that sort of thing?