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Worthington Middle School students head for their buses Monday afternoon following their dismissal from their first day of classes. Worthington High School also opened Monday; classes at Prairie Elementary and St. Mary's School begin today.

Editorial: A bumpy bus ride

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opinion Worthington, 56187
Daily Globe
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Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

District 518 adopted a new schedule for Worthington Middle School last week, and as of Thursday its school days began 10 minutes earlier (7:45 a.m.) and ended 10 minutes earlier (2:45 p.m.) District Superintendent John Landgaard explained for an article in our Saturday edition that the change was made to alleviate safety concerns, noting that buses had been arriving later and at different times at Prairie Elementary -- creating scenarios in which some children were boarding buses while other buses were still arriving.

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We appreciate the district's attention to what we do not doubt are safety concerns. Safety, after all, should be the top priority in all of our schools.

However, we also can't help but wonder why these sorts of concerns haven't needed to be addressed prior to this school year. After three weeks of classes, it is clear that busing across the district still isn't running entirely as it should.

The district opted last spring to change its busing company from Kempema Brothers -- a local operation that had long served Worthington students and their families -- to American Transportation, which had no previous Worthington connection.

We don't necessarily fault the district in making what it felt was the best business decision. We do regret what appears to a lack of organization on American Transportation's part in getting ready for the new year.

Prior to the Saturday's article on bus transportation in District 518, the Daily Globe had been made aware on multiple occasions of such occurrences as rural students not getting picked for school, students not arriving at their after-school destinations in timely fashion, bus drivers getting lost and elementary teachers staying late to make sure students get on late-arriving buses safely. This newspaper had never received calls such as this in past years.

Now comes the schedule change at the middle school, one that some also believe could have been a little better publicized. We hope no additional changes are imminent, and that getting students from point A to point B -- something probably many took for granted for many years -- becomes a much smoother ride than it has been.

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