The School Board accepted the finding of the New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) that a school bus stop at the top of the cul-de-sac on Darrow Way is safe.
David Fletcher of 13 Darrow Way, who raised a concern with the safety of the intersection at which his children’s bus stop is located, appealed the Board’s October decision to maintain that stop.
Superintendent Nate Greenberg said the DOE visited the bus stop and conducted a thorough investigation.
“The bottom line is they didn’t feel there’s a safety issue at that particular bus stop,” Greenberg told the Board at its Dec. 9 meeting.
“But they did recommend clarifying our bus policy,” he said. “We will be coming forward with recommendations for the School Board to address it, but they examined it and all involved parties (at the DOE and School Board) agree it’s a safe bus stop.”
Business Administrator Peter Curro told the board the costs incurred for “Right to Know” requests filed related to the case came in around $6,000.
“And we’re not done, yet,” he said.
Following the Board’s meeting, Fletcher, who said he wasn’t surprised by the DOE’s decision, plans to file another appeal, broadening its scope to include an investigation into the Board’s handling of his petition.
“I’m not trying to force the District to spend money on legal fees, I just want to know why we were treated the way we were,” he said, noting he believes information he is entitled to is still being withheld and that the petition has been handled incorrectly from the start. “We asked for the bus stop to be moved, not to add three additional stops. Just to have the bus go down the street 20 seconds.”
Fletcher planned to submit the appeal to the State Board early this week, with a pre-hearing to be scheduled, generally within a week after the paperwork is received.
In addition to the appeal, Fletcher is working on a warrant article for the March ballot that would re-define the way the District plans bus routes.
“It’s a policy we came up with where bus stops would be placed in locations within the line-of-site of an elementary school child’s home,” he said. “We sent the warrant article to the Town Manager and he sent it to the District, then it was sent to the lawyer’s office to ensure it reads the way it should. They’re supposed to get back to us pretty soon.”
In order for the Warrant Article to go to the voters, it will need 15 verified signatures in support of the new policy.
The cost impact would be minimal, but it’s still in the works, Fletcher said. “We’re not asking to add a bus stop for everybody and we’re not looking to change the way bus stops are set for middle school and high school students,” he explained. “We’re just asking that bus stops be put in locations for the youngest kid on the street.”