The Call to Arms – The July 15 Voicemail

As the community waits for Superintendent Andy Craig and the Hoover Board of Education to begin the strategic planning process outlined at the February 3 meeting, we thought it might be helpful to take a look back at how this whole thing began. The original call to arms.

No doubt there were many discussions prior to the July 15 recommendation and 4-1 board vote to discontinue buses, but the first the public heard about it was this: an automated voicemail sent to bus drivers around 7:00 p.m. that evening.

Though it is inaudible at points, here is the best job we could do with the transcript:

Good evening. This is a Transportation Department automated announcement service. (inaudible)

This is a special announcement. (inaudible) This is a special announcement.

Today’s educational foundation is to provide every child with special opportunities to make them successful.

Hoover City Schools is committed to ensuring all district children make the most of their given opportunity.

Therefore, due to increasing (inaudible) about transportation to and from school for our general education students and significant loss for (inaudible) funding HCS will discontinue general education transportation services beginning in August of the 2014-2015 school year.

Transportation services will continue throughout the current school year providing a yearlong window of opportunity for parents to arrange alternate transportation for their children, and allow transportation employees to (inaudible) if necessary.

Special education bus services will continue. The (inaudible) date for (inaudible) will be determined as part of the discontinuation of service process.

We know there are numerous questions. We currently don’t have all the answers.

Given all that has transpired, and the way our bus drivers and the greater community has been treated by school leaders, can we truly expect them to be upfront and transparent with this next planning process?

Given their refusal to answer simple questions at board meetings, hiding bids for transportation services taken weeks ago, are you comfortable that our school officials are acting in our children’s best interests?

Given the promises that were made, and subsequently broken, by Hoover Board of Education President Paulette Pearson at the December board meeting to sit down and discuss budget solutions with the community group that put hundreds of man-hours into reviewing financial documents to help solve what we were told was a financial crisis at the forum at Spain Park High School last August….do you trust these same people to handle it from here?

What makes you believe that these same leaders will treat our school community any differently in the future?