Letters: Anne Arundel school transportation failures require a change in leadership; | READER COMMENTARY
On Wednesday, the Board of Education will consider approving a second contract with Prismatic Services Inc. The goal is for Prismatic to address several of the outstanding recommendations from their January 2020 transportation audit, namely software implementation, bus routing, and school start times.
As a result of months of virtual learning this school year, Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ transportation expenditures are a fraction of their budget. Now is the perfect time to use those fiscal savings to invest (again) in the outside help necessary to improve school transportation.
A neighboring Maryland school system used the lower operational tempo of the pandemic to speed up their timeline of software implementation and altered school bus routes to reflect new conditions. In contrast, when comparing 2019 AACPS bus routes to 2021 hybrid bus routes, one would identify few changes. Nor has there been progress on Prismatic’s recommendation in the past 14 months.
It is unsurprising then, that frustration with the Transportation Division has simmered long enough, reaching a boiling point. Transportation has disregarded years of community, expert, and stakeholder feedback. These failures continue to negatively impact all students across the entire school system.
A few frustrated parents and community stakeholders recently drafted a petition calling for changes in county schools transportation leadership. You can find it at Change.org: Superintendent George Arlotto exercises control over staff employment, however, repeated transportation failures reflect poorly on his management and leadership. Change is necessary.
I urge the community to sign and share the petition. I urge the board to approve the contract with Prismatic.