By Danielle Gillespie, Staff Writer - Pacific Palisades Palisadian-Post | http://bit.ly/bTweP1
2010-09-09 - On Monday, 617 Palisades Charter High School sophomores, juniors and seniors ' who nearly lost transportation when Los Angeles Unified School District proposed eliminating busing in February for a savings of $2 million annually ' will arrive for their first day of classes on buses.
After months of protests and negotiations, former PaliHi Executive Director Amy Dresser-Held and LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines signed a memorandum of understanding in April, agreeing that LAUSD would continue to bus the seniors to provide continuity in their education.
PaliHi agreed to pick up the cost of transporting the sophomores and juniors at a charge of $1,000 per student. Incoming freshmen would not be provided district transportation.
As part of the agreement, PaliHi's and Paul Revere's buses have been consolidated and PaliHi's afternoon departures reduced for a savings of about $700,000. PaliHi has historically provided busing for students in the afternoons at 2:15 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. The evening buses are for students participating in after-school clubs and sports.
PaliHi's Operations Manager Maisha-Cole Perri told the Palisadian-Post that the 2:15 p.m. departure time will be eliminated and the buses departing at 5:45 p.m. reduced from five to three.
This summer, Perri met with Paul Revere officials to align the schools' schedules. Starting Monday, 31 buses will transport the students to and from both schools. PaliHi's school hours will be from 7:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., while Paul Revere's hours will be from 7:55 a.m. to 3:02 p.m. Information about bus routes was sent home to parents and is available by calling (800) LA-BUSES.
To address parents' concerns about middle and high school students riding on the same bus together, Perri said, 'We have sent behavior guidelines and progressive discipline information home that has been signed off by the parents and students to certify that they understand the rules and regulations.'
While the PaliHi board of directors agreed to pay for the sophomores' and juniors' transportation, the board did direct school administrators at its March 16 meeting to ask parents of traveling students to help cover the cost. If the families could not afford to pay, the board directed administrators to set up a fundraising campaign.
Parents of traveling students have pledged more than $120,000, and PaliHi has collected $30,000 so far, Perri reported. The school raised $4,000 for transportation at the second annual Pali Spirit Awards dinner on June 8.
PaliHi's Interim Executive Director Michael Smith told the Post that he and board member Julia O'Grady asked the Northern Trust Open for assistance. The PGA golf tournament, played at the Riviera Country Club every February, has given more than $50 million to Los Angeles charities.
PaliHi is also facilitating transportation with Global Transportation Services (a private bus service) to help 330 freshmen attend this school year. Families must pay $80 a month for this service. For families unable to cover the cost, PaliHi is asking for a commitment to raise the required amount throughout the school year, Perri said.
To make a donation for transportation, send checks to Palisades Charter High School Transportation Fund, Attn: Maisha-Cole Perri, 15777 Bowdoin St., Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. Information: (310) 230-6631. All donations are tax deductible and donors will be honored on the school's Web site, outdoor electronic marquee and newsletter.
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