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Parents urged to complete bus applications

<p>Selwyn Harris / Pahrump Valley Times - Nye County School District Superintendent Dale Norton chats with Valley Electric Association District I Board member Peter Gazsy on Saturday. District officials say they are ready despite the beginning of school arriving two weeks earlier this year.</p>

Selwyn Harris / Pahrump Valley Times - Nye County School District Superintendent Dale Norton chats with Valley Electric Association District I Board member Peter Gazsy on Saturday. District officials say they are ready despite the beginning of school arriving two weeks earlier this year.

It’s that time of year again when Nye County School District Transportation Supervisor Cameron McRae’s schedule becomes beyond hectic.

McRae and his staff are preparing for the return of more than 5,000 K-12 students next week – where more than half will require school bus transportation to and from their respective campuses.

District policy dictates that elementary school students must live one or more miles from their zoned school, while middle and high school students must reside two or more miles from their zoned school to be eligible for school bus transportation.

McRae said his staff is processing the applications which need to be submitted to the transportation office this week if parents want their kids to ride the bus on Monday morning.

“The applications we get on Thursday, we will be able to process on Friday. The applications we get on Friday, may not get processed in time. It also allows us the opportunity to make sure we have the updated emergency contact information and correct phone numbers. We are also able to update information if people have moved,” he said.

McRae said his office staff is working non-stop to get parents to complete and return the 2014-15 school year bus applications on time.

“Right now we are in the process of calling all of those who have provided us with a new application and registration form. They are required each year to complete a new one so we will have the best assurance of getting the most updated information. There are no major changes this year, but there’s maybe a couple of modest changes to some of the bus routes. Those who have already filled out the application and got it to us, they will know that when they get a call from us,” he said.

Additionally, the transportation supervisor said parents of kindergarten students must be present at the bus stop to receive their child after school.

“We have a standing practice for kindergarteners. We can’t require the parents to be there when they drop the student off in the mornings but it’s highly recommended. In the afternoon, they must be there. We will not release a kindergartener to just anybody. It’s got to be a responsible, recognized adult parent or guardian who has permission to do it. We provide the kindergarteners with name tags and wrist bands with their bus number and their stop,” he said.

Even though extra precautions are taken with younger students, McRae said each year there will be students who may forget where their bus stop is, or where a parent may be late to pick them up.

“We make every attempt for those students to get seated up front all of the time so they are always in the mind of the driver. We make a lot of phone calls and we bring quite a number of kindergarten students right back to the transportation facility and wait for somebody to pick them up. We do not on purpose leave a kindergartener at a bus stop without someone receiving them. That’s why we ask parents to be there a little early,” he said.

McRae issued an alert to motorists making their daily commute come next week.

“I just want to remind everybody to slow down and be cognizant that these youngsters are going to be out there. We don’t want to make the mistake of believing that they are always going to make the right decisions when they’re out there on the street. It’s up to those who are driving to be extra attentive in those cases,” he said.

Contained on the application form are rules and standards of conduct for students as well as parents while waiting for the bus to arrive.

“Be good neighbors,” McRae said. “Don’t block people’s driveways or have kids climbing on fences. It’s important for parents to highlight and talk to their children about the rules because it will reduce everybody’s anxiety. Some are neighbors and citizens who don’t have kids in the school system, but have a bus stop in the vicinity of their home,” he said.

For additional information on bus routes, scheduling and the like, call the transportation office at 727-2443.

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