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MCCS busing opportunities get a whole lot cooler

By: Sarah Cormier | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 18, 2011

 Mount Clemens Community Schools representatives, from left, Patrick Linabury, Cindy Boedeker and Jill Kleehammer pass out ice cream bars to Avery Bennett, 7, and Ashley Bennett, 12, of Mount Clemens. The district is launching a campaign to let locals know that more transportation routes have been added for students.

Mount Clemens Community Schools representatives, from left, Patrick Linabury, Cindy Boedeker and Jill Kleehammer pass out ice cream bars to Avery Bennett, 7, and Ashley Bennett, 12, of Mount Clemens. The district is launching a campaign to let locals know that more transportation routes have been added for students.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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MOUNT CLEMENS — Mount Clemens Community Schools officials are making it pretty tough for local parents to not want to send their children to school in the district for the 2011-2012 year.

According to interim Superintendent Phil Easter, the district is adding more bus routes to its plan to try to accommodate as many current and future students as possible.

“We’ve increased the number of buses and the number of routes and stops so that we believe we will provide transportation to every student in the district who wants to be transported to our buildings,” he said. “We feel there are families out there that would like to take advantage of what the district has to offer. … We want to make it as convenient as possible.”

Easter said that three years ago, the district scaled back on the number of bus routes it offered and saw enrollment decline promptly after. Although he believes there are several factors that have contributed to enrollment dropping over the years, Easter also thinks there is a direct connection to having fewer bus routes.

“One of the things that we’ve recognized for awhile is that a lot of our families really depend on the transportation provided by the district to get their youngsters to school,” he said. “We think a lot of that was a result of folks finding it more convenient to go to other districts … and we think a lot of those folks will come back once they see the transportation is restored.”

Even though adding more bus routes will bring an increased cost to a district that is also in a deficit elimination plan with the state, Easter isn’t worried.

“The cost, we feel, even with our financial situation, is manageable, and we are hopeful the increased enrollment would offset what we would anticipate with additional costs,” he said.

In an effort to promote the transportation changes, district officials have decided that starting July 23 and for the next three to four Saturdays after, they will be at various locations throughout the community with a school bus on site, offering free ice cream to local children. Attendees will also be able to receive information about the new bus routes added to this year’s schedule.

No specific times or locations are set for the free ice cream Saturdays, but Easter said the bus will be parked at various local parks and apartment complexes in the middle of the afternoon.

Kevin Marvin, president of the Mount Clemens Education Association, the district’s teachers’ union, said he feels the Saturday events will be helpful in getting face-to-face time with local parents and children.

“It’s just another way to get our message out to parents, and we know that everybody loves ice cream … so hopefully we’ll get to speak to more people,” he said.

Marvin said the idea is similar to the district’s recent door-to-door campaign it launched in June, in which teachers and parents canvassed local neighborhoods and spoke with residents about the educational opportunities the Mount Clemens school district has to offer.

“That’s what we are really trying to do is serve the community, to have a presence out there and make sure we answer any questions the public may have,” he said.

For more information, call (586) 461-3766.
 

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