Buses roll to Northeast Regional School

Published 9:18 pm Monday, August 12, 2013

Beaufort County Schools started running its longest bus route last week when local students enrolled in the Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience.
Students returned to school last week.
Northeast is an early college high school serving as a statewide model for education that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math. Students from Beaufort, Martin, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington counties attend the school, now in its second year.
Last year, Beaufort County residents had to find their own transportation to the school. After learning that other districts provided transportation and were fully reimbursed by the state, Beaufort County Schools agreed to provide transportation for this school year.
The district agreed to bus students to the Plymouth school, provided the state reimbursed the expenses and did not count the use of the bus against the district’s efficiency rating.
The initial bus stops were to be Washington High School, Northeast Elementary School and Northside High School. After looking at the areas where NRSBA students resided, stops were changed. Washington High School was dropped and two shopping centers were added.
Don Phipps, superintendent of schools, informed board members of the change at a school board meeting Tuesday and asked if they supported the changes. He and board members considered the safety and the liability of the district for students waiting for a bus on public property.
Board member Terry White asked if Food Lion was aware that the district was using its lot as a bus stop.
Board member Eltha Booth said parents should sign a waiver that deemed parents responsible for the safety of their students before and after pick-up.
“I think that you should include that it is the parent’s responsibility to be at the stop,” she said.
Two days into the new run, the board voted to change the bus stops back to school property, arguing that the bus service is a privilege, not a responsibility for Beaufort County Schools.
The school board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Aug. 20 at 5:30 p.m. Board members will meet this week for a training session and Friday for a closed session on personnel issues.