Hello Pine Bush families and staff,
Today is a somber day for many of us. On this day of remembrance, I want to begin by sharing my condolences once again for so many in our Pine Bush community who lost someone now 20 years ago. I’ve been listening to and watching some of the media coverage today and taken some time to just sit quietly and think.
I want to share with you all that over the past 24 hours I have spoken to the unit presidents of our clerical, school related professionals, and teaching staff. In addition, I’ve also spoken with the directors on my team who manage varied aspects of our operation. There is a unanimous desire from everyone I’ve spoken to. They and their members want to be part of the solution to our busing issue.
Everyone seems to grasp the dire nature of our current circumstance, and we are, I sense, most alarmed by the impact this is having on our students, who must always come first. So I am converting the emergency closure originally scheduled for Monday, September 13, into a Superintendent’s Conference Day. Even though SRPs do not usually attend conference days after the opening of school, I am inviting them to join us with the understanding that they will be paid at their contractual rate. Monday’s conference day will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and replace the one scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2022 which will now be a regular day of school.
There will be training for some elementary teachers in iReady in the morning, but the bulk of the day will be dedicated to operationalizing our temporary plan to remedy the bus problem.
By having all hands on deck, we can better prepare to implement the complete overhaul of the schedules in four of our seven schools. In the new schedule, some students will be in school longer than others, but that extra time will largely be a supervised study hall. The instructional day for all students in each school will be uniform.
I know I told you last night that I had spoken with Senator James Skoufis. Well, after that call, I also spoke with State Senator Mike Martucci. Both Senators have pledged to help us accelerate the DMV approval for potential drivers seeking a CDL license needed to drive a school bus.
Despite some of what I have seen on social media, I think everyone should be reminded that the district did not create this problem. Birnie Bus did by violating their contract with us. Now we are focused on fixing it. And when I think about the spirit expressed by all of the union presidents and other staff I’ve spoken with, I am reminded why we are Pine Bush Strong. That sense of unity and resolve reminds me of those days after 9/11 some 20 years ago when we all came together after that awful day. Our staff continues to inspire me, and they should be hailed as heroes, not heckled or ridiculed. I thank them all for what they have already done and what they are about to do on Monday. I’ll give you another update tomorrow.
Have a good night,
Tim O. Mains, Pine Bush Superintendent