Mitchell Co. won't pick up students in Pelham zone - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Mitchell Co. won't pick up students in Pelham zone

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August 24, 2006

Mitchell County - - Some Mitchell County families were worried their children would have a hard time getting to school. Recently, the Mitchell County school system informed them that buses will no longer take kids who don't live in Pelham to Pelham city schools.

It's a change that caught many parents off-guard and left students scrambling to come up with transportation...even though the school year was already in session.

For years, you didn't have to live in Pelham to ride the bus to school there. You could live in Camilla, even in surrounding areas outside of Mitchell County and catch the school bus. Not anymore.

"It created a management problem, a safety issue. We had some bus stops where we had large numbers there with no supervision. In the afternoons, in some cases parents weren't there to pick up students. So it was evident we needed to make a change," says Andy Collins, Mitchell County Transportation Director.

But many families had done this for years, because the Pelham school is closer to their home or job.

"We were taken by shock," says Pelham's School Superintendent Steve Dunn.

He says about 30 students were affected by the abrupt change. So they came up with a quick fix - Pelham is now offering its own school bus for kids Mitchell County's bus will no longer pick up.

"Knowing its going to be an additional cost and its also going to be a management problem for us but were faced with those decisions everyday and the bottom line is what can we do to make students more successful," says Dunn.

After dozens of phone calls from upset parents, Dunn says the Pelham School Board didn't want to leave any child who wanted to attend their schools without transportation. In the meantime, Mitchell's transportation director apologizes for the inconvenience.

"I do feel for those but it's not a policy that you can pick and choose, you either got to go with the policy or not go with it," Collins said.

The Pelham school system plans to offer transportation to those approximately 30 students as long as they need it.

Superintendent Dunn also says the Pelham school district has a positive working relationship with the Mitchell County school district and doesn't expect this issue to change that.

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