Dan Rattiner's Stories

The Sag Harbor Bus Tangle: Report Doesn’t Satisfy

Could local students have done the job faster and cheaper?

Thirteen months ago, the Sag Harbor School Board decided to hire a consultant to tell them if the six school bus routes could be reconfigured so they could make more frequent stops to pick up more kids without it costing any more. Their hire was Transportation Advisory Services, a highly recommended outfit with an office on a small street in the Upstate small town of Walworth, 20 miles east of Rochester. The base fee would be $11,850, the Sag Harbor Express reported, and the job would include a complete survey of improvements and changes that might be made to better the service.

Last week, the report was presented to the board. So it took 13 months to get the approvals needed for the hire, the contract signed, the work done, a report written up, a transportation subcommittee to review it and then to get to the meeting.

And some of the board members were unhappy with the report, according to the Sag Harbor Express.

“I thought we were going to get some out-of-the-box thinking by getting some fresh eyes, and that didn’t happen,” said board member Susan Lamontagne.

“I was expecting some of those same things,” said School board President Diana Kolhoff.

The report, again according to the Sag Harbor Express, did suggest that one bus start its route five minutes earlier, which would make it unnecessary to have another particular bus. But then it proceeded to suggest numerous things the board was already doing—using a particular software, replacing old busses in a timely fashion, adding bus stops closer together, and so on and so on.

Anyway, the main thing was the mathematics of how many busses going how many miles an hour on which particular routes making how many stops had been done in a timely fashion, so that was important.

But I was wondering if the seniors at the high school could have been tasked to tackle this mathematical problem. They’ve gone through adding and subtracting and multiplication and algebra, maybe even a little trigonometry, I think, if math today is anything like it was when I went to high school. And it wouldn’t have cost $11,850 and taken 13 months. A plaque could have been awarded.

Is it possible some parents on the school board do not think their high school kids are smart enough to tackle this? Just asking.

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