February 15, 2023: At Wednesday’s CUSD School Board meeting, a group of parents from CUSD spoke to the school board in regards to an issue of transportation for their children.
In question are children listed as “medically fragile/exceptionally disabled” that are currently students in Clovis Unified.
These students need specific in house care to be provided to them at all times in order to go about their day.
Some of the students have plans in place that allow 24/7 care with them at all times including during their school days.
However, upon the issue of transportation, parents are asking Clovis Unified to allow these students to be dropped off at a location that is technically outside of the CUSD school district zone.
That location is the site of Loretta’s Little Miracles, a designated nursing care facility that provides skilled nursing services for medically fragile and developmentally disabled children.
The request made by parents is that these students be dropped off at this location at the end of the school day.
As of now, students are only transported to and from schools from their home residences.
Wednesday’s meeting was not the first time that parents of these children have asked the school board for help in this issue, and it wouldn’t be the first time that the school board was unable to provide an answer.
The school board officially voted to “further discuss” the topic and come to a solution later down the road.
Before this decision was made, parents took the allotted time to speak during the specific action item, and voiced their concerns.
One parent complained, “I’m tired. I fight for a wheelchair, I fight for physical therapy, I fight because I live in Pinedale and she [my child] has to go all the way to Clovis Elementary for her education, and now I’m gonna fight for transportation? For three miles?”
“This is starting to kind of feel a little like a little bit of an ‘us versus you’ situation, and that’s the exact opposite situation of what I’ve been trying to do in all of this. Partnership is what I’ve sought,” said another.
The main concern coming from the school board is the fact that there are 800 students that are characterized as “severely disabled” and have IEP plans in place with the district as of the day of the meeting.
Those who asked for assistance that evening totalled to less than ten.
If the school board were to make an exception for this small group of children to be allowed to be given transportation to Loretta’s Little Miracles nursing services, it is feared that if more than the subset were to ask for help, would the school district be able to accommodate a larger number of students’ needs.
The second issue that arose was how the district could accommodate the needs of the small group who had asked them for help.
Deadlocked, the school board made the choice to push back the issue due to questions of logistics in how they would go about transporting the students to Loretta’s Little Miracles.
With students at six different schools throughout the district, an extra amount of time would have to be allotted for, extending the amount of time that the students are cared for at school locations, in addition to adding time actually spent on the bus for those riding.
It was estimated that by the time the sixth school was visited by a school bus, an hour would have passed from the time in which the first student was picked up.
First Student Inc. a busing transportation service that provides transportation for special needs students was asked if they could help this situation but responded to CUSD by saying they were at capacity at the time of request.
The conclusion to this matter is far from over, and as by parents testimony, they will continue to ask the district for help in their situation.
As CUSD struggles to find a solution, the wait seems to be pushed further down the line in a long list of problems to arrive for CUSD in the coming future.