Seattle City Councilmembers are currently considering a budget amendment that would pay for GPS tablets in school buses. As a parent volunteer, I have been advocating to local and state elected leaders for support to address our serious operational challenges, which disproportionately impact our students furthest from educational justice. The text of my letter is below:

Dear Councilmembers,

I am writing to ask for your support with the budget amendment DEEL 004 A 001 “Add $500,000 GF to DEEL to improve Seattle Public Schools’ bus routing technology.”

I am a parent of 4 current and future Seattle Public Schools students, a PTA president, and a member of our Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council. Having witnessed the bus service disruptions over the last few years, a group of parent volunteers and I collected bus route and demographic data and wrote a white paper on proposed funding cuts to bus transportation in our district. Our data analysis underscores the inequities of our bus transportation services, particularly toward our special education, McKinney-Vento, and BIPOC students. 

The issues hamstringing our district’s ability to provide equitable bus transportation are complex and layered. Nonetheless, this simple budget allocation for GPS tablets for each bus will have immediate, positive impact to students and working families and to our vendor’s ability to recruit and retain bus drivers. This summer, I learned about the chaotic bus service for our special education students, including one 3rd grade, autistic student who was driven to the wrong school and her mom could not find her for hours. Having a GPS tablet will enable accurate, up to date bus route information for our drivers and prevent such mishaps. Being able to share bus location and pick-up and drop-off times will go a long way to support working families in coordinating transportation and child care for their students.

Please vote in favor.

Sincerely,

Vivian Song Maritz

 

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