In addition to putting out signs, community members have had their voices heard at school board meetings leading up to Wednesday’s hearing. Dozens of supporters have attended meetings, wearing yellow to show support, and pleaded with board members not to hire an outside company.
Parents, and students alike, question how replacing local, experienced drivers with those unfamiliar with the area could have an adverse impact on students within the district.
“We will not entrust our child’s safety in the hands of any strangers,” said Dawn Cello at an Oct. 10 meeting. “The present program is an efficient, high-quality program that employs Pocono Mountain residents who live here, pay taxes here, care about our children and live in our neighborhoods.”
At a previous meeting, Rusty Johnson, board president, told the public in attendance that no decisions regarding transportation services will be made until Nov. 21, the meeting after the public hearing on Nov. 14. Johnson added that Nov. 21 was not a deadline and the board could make a decision after that date.
Wednesday’s public hearing will feature a proposal from First Student. First Student is a transportation company that operates in both the United States and Canada. According to the company’s website, it employs 50,500 employees and is used by 1,100 school districts in North America.
Wednesday’s meeting will be held inside of the Pocono Mountain East High School auditorium and begin at 6 p.m. School board member James Gamble will be presenting a report from the district’s transportation committee and an independent auditor will also be presenting financial data during the meeting.