Cami Anderson, the state-imposed administrator of Newark schools, has developed a shuttle bus operation to move children around the city to meet the demands of her “One Newark” plan to shut down neighborhood schools and launch new charter and other privatized schools. The plan calls for “voluntary” parent and other patrols and relying on businesses, community centers, and churches to ensure the safety of the thousands of children whose lives will be disrupted by Anderson’s scheme.
The plan, a copy of which has been obtained by this site, also will require the involvement of the Newark Police Department, although there is no evidence that Mayor Ras Baraka, who opposes “One Newark” and has demanded Anderson’s resignation, will deploy scarce police resources.
Anderson’s busing plan also would require the cooperation of the county sheriff’s office and Rutgers University.
The shuttle bus operation won’t be ready to go into effect until the end of September at the earliest, weeks after schools open. The bus routes will be “refined” by the first week of October, according to the draft of plan that has been marked “confidential.”
According to the plan, Anderson is now developing “pick up” and “drop off” locations for the shuttle buses that will transport children from eight schools affected by the “One Newark” or as Anderson puts it:
“The goal of the initiative is to provide students from schools that are charter launches, repurposed, or re-sited with safe and efficient transportation to and from school.”
The actual number and identity of the schools is not really clear because at least one school—Hawthorne Avenue—appears to be included in some sections of the 29-page report but not in others. It also will include so-called “co-located” schools that will be housed inside other schools.
Children from these schools will be eligible for the “shuttle” plan—so-called “re-sited” schools such as Miller Street, Early Childhood Center-Clinton, Eagle Academy, Girls, Newark Vocational, and NEC; “repurposed” schools such as Maple Avenue, Roseville Avenue, and Newton Street,” and charter launches from once public schools at Bragaw Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Alexander Street.
That list differs somewhat from a list in the report of “hub locations” designed around other schools, including Hawthorne Avenue and E. Alma Flagg School.
The plan relies heavily on “volunteer” efforts and changes in school employee work schedules and duties. There is no indication any of these changes have been worked out with relevant unions—although Anderson has been busy this summer laying off staff from their union jobs and rehiring them to new positions not covered by unions.
For example, this is one of Anderson’s ways of keeping children safe as they get picked off and dropped off at various shuttle bus sites:
“Parent Patrol: Aggregate volunteer parents in the morning and afternoons for additional patrols.
“Aides—Assist at pick-up locations and on bus.
“Security—School security staff during pick-up and drop-off.”
Other sections of the report indicate teacher aides will have to ride the shuttle buses with the children “to ensure behavior is kept on the bus” and that security employees will have to come in earlier in the morning and stay later in the afternoon. Parents will “patrol/stand watch” to make sure their children are safe.
The plan also indicates Anderson is “working to engage” local and county and Rutgers police operations to help keep the Newark children safe in face of the disruptive plan. It does not exactly spell out what local businesses, churches and “community centers” are supposed to do to provide “safe school zones” for the children, but the plan does ask the question:
“Who else from the community should we engage? How?”
The plan also includes a timelines. Right now, Anderson is working on determining the actual shuttle bus routes. From now until the end of the month, Anderson is supposed to be conducting an “outreach” program to persuade parents the plan is a good idea. From Sept. 8 to 24, “family safety and transportation seminars” will be conducted—after the school year opens.
Parents will have until Sept. 26 to determine whether they want to “opt in” and the routes will be adjusted by Oct. 3.