High School Bus Update PLUS Trivia
BY: Mayor W. Clarke Conway, City of Brisbane,
The high school bus that transports high schoolers going to Oceana and Terra Nova high schools from Brisbane will be discontinued at the end of this school year in June.
First, a little background of how we got here:
Jefferson Union High School District (JUHSD) has four district schools: Jefferson, Westmoor, Oceana and Terra Nova. (There used to be five high schools but Serramonte closed down; the campus became District offices and now houses Shasta Charter High School). Jefferson and Westmoor are located in Daly City, as is Shasta, and Oceana and Terra Nova are located in Pacifica. In the past, most Brisbane School District graduates attended Jefferson High School only.
Back in the 1980’s, Brisbane parents thought that sending their kids to Oceana and Terra Nova high schools in Pacifica was a better choice for their children. Jefferson Union High School District was providing bus service for the District at that time and therefore transported Brisbane School District graduates to the two Pacifica high schools.
In 1995, Mike Crilly, (then JUHSD Superintendent) came before the Brisbane City Council and asked for a donation of $5,000 to help fund the sports programs at Jefferson High School. Being a graduate of Jefferson, I felt it was a worthwhile cause, knowing that sports programs can sometimes be the positive difference in a young person’s life vs. going towards the negative things that are out there.
We donated for a few more years, but wanted to have the funds directed towards more educational classes. In 1999, I initiated raising it up to $65,000 to provide for Advanced Placement classes, computer labs at all of the schools, extended library hours at Terra Nova, and a late bus for Terra Nova students who stayed for the extended library hours and afterschool athletics. Every year, Superintendent Crilly would come before the City Council and tell us exactly where the money was being spent.
In 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor, his campaign promise was to recall the Vehicle License Fee that the Department of Motor Vehicles charged to register automobiles. He followed through with his campaign promise after he was elected. When we went into the Great Recession, our legislators started taking money from the public schools system to make up for the losses. (If the Vehicle License Fee had never been recalled, our education system would have remained very solvent through the recession). As it turned out, the State of California pulled all transportation funding from schools. Supervisor Crilly retired shortly after this in 2010. The State never put back the transportation funding for schools.
To make up the difference, the City of Brisbane stepped in to help with what was now solely bus services and diverted the funds to contract for a bus. We initially contracted through the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) but after a couple of years, they no longer wanted to do it. This became a very costly and troublesome endeavor for the City of Brisbane. Last year we met the JUHSD board subcommittee and told them that we can no longer do this because we cannot regulate the behavior of the students on the bus and only the school district can do that. They agreed that they would operate the bus if we could pay for it. We agreed, but after one year, with the cost is closing in on $200,000, JUHSD said that they will not continue operating the bus after this year and the City Council has indicated that we will no longer pay for a bus to go to Pacifica.
To date, the City, JUHSD, and a group of concerned parents have been working with the San Mateo Transportation District to provide a bus service that would go from Brisbane to Pacifica. The SamTrans Board of Directors are now having their staff look into potential alternatives, such as shifting an existing service route to provide a Brisbane to Pacifica route. There is nothing solid yet but it is looking promising.
Having said all of this, parents will need to start rethinking where they want to send their children to high school in the future. I was very happy to see the majority of 2018 Lipman Intermediate School graduates choose Jefferson and Shasta High Schools.
Now for a little bit of trivia:
Out of the current 20 Mayors in San Mateo County, 4 of them graduated from Jefferson High School specifically! That’s 20% of the County’s mayors from ONE HIGH SCHOOL! Two of them went from BES to Lipman to Jefferson! All of this is unprecedented. When I was a senior in high school, over 60% of the highest SAT scores came from Jefferson High School out of the five schools in the district! Two of my former classmates became Federal Judges! Jefferson is a wonderful storied high school and I urge parents to visit the campus with their up and coming high schoolers and attend the many community festivals that they have there. County Supervisor David Canepa had one there in March and there is another one coming, Pacific Islands Together, in May. And if it sounds like I’m promoting Jefferson High School, I most certainly am!