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January 24, 2014     Cape Gazette
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January 24, 2014

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10 FRIDAY JANUARY 24- MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014 NEWS Cape Gazette Cape questions costs of busing homeless students Statewide effort By Melissa Steele State officials are working out a deal to lower costs for busing homeless children to school, a plan that could save Cape Henlo- pen school district some money. The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act re- quires school districts to bus students who enroll in the dis- trict, but who live beyond district boundaries. At December's Cape school board meeting, officials said the cost of transporting these chil- dren was more than $450,000; those costs are about $220,000 through December for the 2013-14 school year. The state Department of Education pays 90 percent of the total, leaving the district to pay 10 percent, said Oliver Gumbs, Cape's director of business operations. State officials plan to bid out these services to lower the cost, Gumbs said. State education officials con- tacted Jan. 7 had no further information on how much a new contract with Greenwood-based could lower transportation bills Delmarva Transportation would cost or what the cost savings would be. Cape Superintendent Robert Fulton said the act's broad defi- nition of homelessness strains district finances. "It puts us in an interesting position," he said. "It's definitely been a challenge for us." Board member ]en Burton agrees and questions how the program is run. "I'm defmtely concerned about the accountability and the cost, but also the logistics of the con- tract," she said. According to district infor- mation, there are currently 75 students living outside the school district who are driven to Cape schools by Delmarva Transpor- tation. Thirteen students live in Lincoln, eight in Georgetown and Harrington has seven, and Dover and Seaford, three each. Mariner Middle School has the most students who use homeless transportation with 22, followed by H.O. Brittingham with 16 and Cape Henlopen High School with 15. Burton said she understands the philosophy behind the law - to provide consistency for a child who is shuffled through different home situations. However, she said, she is not sure busing is in the best interest of the child. "Does it seem reasonable for a child to get up at 4 a.m. to go to a school that's an hour and a half away?" she questioned. Burton said she has had dis- cussions with school board members throughout the state who agree that homeless student busing should be changed. She said there seems to be a breakdown of communication between parents and officials who determine students should be bused. "I know there's the law and us, but what's going on in between?" she asked. State education officials declined to comment on the definition of homeless students. According to the district pre- sentation, foster children are considered homeless, as are stu- dents who have been displaced from their original homes and are now living in mobile home communities. RON MACARTHUR PHOTO CAPE SCHOOL DISTRICT and state officials are working out a contract to save money on busing homeless students. ANDERSON CARPET ONE" 302-227-3244 FLOOR & HOME FLOORING IS WHAT WE DO! We install: Carpet Vinyl Ceramic Hardwood Vinyl tiles Laminate Commercial & Residential flooring Area Rugs Come see our new collection of indoor & outdoor area rugs. NEW YEAR'S SAVINGS! PtAYEUS .... RON MACARTHUR PHOTO THE SOCIAL SECURITY Administration will rent office space in this complex along Route 9 near Lewes. SI c ffice move to occur this summer Pettyjohn: Action taken without input By Ron MacArthur ronm@capegazette corn Overriding objections from elected officials and county residents, the Social Security Ad- ministration will move its only Sussex County office from Georgetown to Lewes. The move to the Vineyards at Nassau Valley along Route 9 is expected to oc- cur this summer. "This is action done by an agency that doesn't have any knowledge of the area," said Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown. "They have made a decision that will affect thousands of people." Pettyjohn said there is no valid reason why a government office would not be located in George- town. "There is a reason the state bought land from my family back in the 1700s to keep everything Continued on page 17 , 15% off , ' All In-Stock i i Billiard i I | ........ Accessories .... . i i , ....... ' POOLS .Ntvalidwiththercupnsrprirpurchases'-- -- N.Offer,,.,2-7-.., 14 .... 'd | 35465 Wolfe Neck Rd. Routes 1 a 24, Next to Kid's Cottage II Rehoboth Beach H Mon., Tue., Thurs. & Fri. 9am- 6pm. Sat. 9am- 4prn 1-866-505-AQUA (2782) 302-644-4732 II Closed Wednesday & Sunday FREE DELUXE SAFETY COVER CHEMICAL PACKAGE IN-HOME ORIENTATION STANDARD DELIVERY OZONATOR COVERLIFT * SPA STEPS $1300 VALUE! | See store for details. Offer expires 2/7/14. LL .. m .., m