BURRILLVILLE – A new Traffic Safety Committee will look at the Burrillville School District’s transportation plans after changes to the town’s bussing routes in 2018 led to some questions and confusion among parents.
The School Committee voted unanimously to create the new sub-committee, made up of officials from both the school district and municipal government, after recommendation from Supt. Michael Sollitto.
The group will meet a minimum of twice a year under a draft plan passed by the committee at their meeting in October, and their duties will include the annual approval of the bus routes and discussion of transportation issues as related to safety. It will be made up of one member of the School Committee – who will serve as chairperson; the superintendent or a designee; the school bus manager or a designee; the chief of police or a designee; a transportation manager as assigned by the bus company; the director of the Department of Public Works or a designee; and a liaison from the Town Council.
“Ad hoc members could be added to the committee on an as-needed basis,” Sollitto told the school board.
The town’s bus services, provided by DATTCO, were altered with the elimination of one route in June due to decreased enrollment during the 2017/2018 school year. But over the summer, more than 100 new students enrolled in the district, leading to something of a scramble to place the newcomers.
“Earlier this year we had a lot of concerns and phone calls about issues with bus routes,” said Sollitto.
“I think this is a wonderful idea,” said Committee member Dorthy Cardon. “It will help a lot of parents.”
School safety was also a focus at the meeting of the interim school board in November, where Sollitto announced that the town has received word that a portion of recently-approved upgrades will receive reimbursement from the Rhode Island Department of Education. The project included security camera upgrades and swipe card system upgrades, as well as work on security door locksets.
The Town Council authorized the district to pay for the upgrades at a cost of $119,000 out of capital funds, and in September, school officials submitted the project to RIDE for reimbursement as part of the Gov. Gina Raimondo’s $10 million school safety initiative.
“Although we have yet to receive official notification from RIDE, it looks as though we did receive unofficial notification we will be receiving about $53,000 in reimbursement on those projects,” said Sollitto.
Victor Bevilacqua filled in as an interim committee member at the meeting due to the resignation of Committee member Michael Karmozyn. Newly elected School Committee members will be sworn in along with council members at a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.