School buses running at 50% capacity in Anchorage, but school board works on land acknowledgement rule

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According to the Anchorage School District, there are still not enough school bus drivers to provide transportation for half of the students in the district.

As of Friday 172 out of 228 routes are in full service, said Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt on Friday. This week, the district expects nine new routes to be added, and 30 drivers are in training.

That’s not the focus of the Anchorage School Board, which tonight will take up the proposed rule mandating a “land acknowledgement” at certain official events. Already, the school board recites a land acknowledgement at every meeting.

The superintendent said in his weekly memo that attendance is now at 91%, up from 87% last year.

The percentage of students who attend 90% of the time has increased from last year’s 54% to this school year’s 68%.

“On Monday, when we switch to cohort three, drivers should expect heavier traffic around Begich, Wendler, Goldenview, Romig, and Hanshew middle schools, along with Bartlett, Service, East, West, and South high schools. If possible, community members at large should avoid these areas during drop-off and pick-up times (7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.),” Bryantt wrote on Friday.

“We were hopeful to be within arm’s reach of an end to the cohort system by October. There will unfortunately be a setback in this trajectory. This is a delay but not a defeat. We have a large training pool, we are still accepting applications for bus drivers, and hiring incentives are in place,” he wrote.

35 COMMENTS

  1. The ASD is become a weird clown show, and Anchorage’s children and their parents are its unamused and hostage audience. The blocks-long lines of backed-up vehicles at Anchorage’s schools, morning and afternoon, demonstrate to parents and the entire community the overall folly of the school board and its administration. Certainly we voters are to blame for the misdirected school board members, so we must resolve to vote at every election and to retire most of them.

  2. The lack of bus drivers reflects on the national problem that has occurred in the last 18 months or so. While government employees enjoyed a steady pay check during COVID lockdown, the private sector got screwed. Many found how easy it is to collect government handouts and now no longer want or need employment. Now the same government employees are wondering where the seasonal help that they depended on to work for low wages and no benefits have gone. They have been forced to find a better way. The same government employees also wonder why their favorite restaurants are now closed or very short handed. Higher wages are not enough to entice people to want to work. It’s a fading work force. Even the new refugees are being discouraged from seeking employment. But as far as the bus driver situation goes, ASD has plenty of employees that could take up the slack. If it isn’t below them.

    • Find yourself a favorite restaurant and support them exclusively. If I’m hungry for Chinese I don’t go to 10 different Chinese restaurants hoping I get a good meal. I know what you’re saying how do I know if it’s good if I don’t try it and while that is true, you have to do your own due diligence. Where I live, I found the best burger place that I’ve ever eaten at. They have excellent onion rings as well. I wouldn’t dream of ordering a burger from any other place in town. My point is I want this place to stay in business. If you like a place give it favorable reviews on Google. Do all you can to help it out. That place is there giving you pleasure and that’s something that I don’t take lightly these days.

      • This really wasn’t about restaurants, but since you opened it up, I chose to close mine. It was not for lack of support from customers, and I had the best food and the highest paid help anywhere. Just got tired of trying to find anyone with a work ethic that could be depended on to even show up. It was certainly hard enough dealing with mandates and a failed supply system, but you just can’t find enough good help. Ask any restaurant owner and they will tell you the same thing. You have to have a workforce and it’s just not there. It wasn’t for lack of support from my community at all. One man can only do so much.

        • I’m sorry to hear that. Yeah it appears restaurant help has gone down in quality. I’ve gone to identifying the ones that I visit on Google and give credit where credit is due and identify the poor ones. I’ll give details and them completely honest so that others can make up their mind whether they want to support the establishment or not. As in your case it may not be the restaurants fault, but ultimately the consumer will be the judge on whether or not they want to spend money for subpar quality and service.

      • I sure hope that the restaurant you enjoy is not on land that was not stolen from indigenous people otherwise you are a hypocrite.

        • Did you catch the part that it was closed? And I may be a lot of things, but not a hypocrite. If the local tribes can provide evidence that this is their land, then I will have to deal with it. Party on, homer.

        • If you’re shooting your mouth off to me, then technically since the restaurant is in Florida it was stolen by the Seminole tribe. I like good cheeseburgers from time to time so shoot me. I get tired of eating fry bread and pemakin all the time.

      • Rice Garden. If you long for the days of the rice bowl and they’re wonderful food you can go to the rice garden and have exactly the same 400 Sitka St. the little house with the red trim you will not be sorry

  3. People are clamoring to get their children to the worst schools in America. Alaska is ranked 47th (out of 50) in math, and 50th in reading/writing, I believe. What is the rush?

  4. Gotta prioritize, I guess. It’s well established APS doesn’t give a damn about actually educating kids.

    Their pronouns, gender identity, orientation, future drag stars? They’re all over that. But actually educating? No chance in hell.

    If you love your kids, get them out of Anchorage public Ed. Better still, out of Anchorage.

    Leaving kids in APS is child abuse.

  5. On a different note, why would anyone with an option sign on to school bus driving?

    Many of the kids are brats, they accuse you of anything you’re dead meat, the schools are openly hostile to parents and/or external observers…

    Barring a Great Depression, there isn’t enough money to make a sane person sign on to that crap.

    • About a decade or so back, semi-retiring and being a bus driver was my exit strategy. Wherever we ended up , I knew it was going to be a small rural district because Big Citys suck and I’ve always known that. I actually had a driving job in the bush transporting a special needs girl. In the beginning she made me crazy. They had a drag her out of school kicking and screaming and strap her in and her assistant was with her in the backseat moved all the way over to the door so that the girl couldn’t reach and pinch her and claw and bite her. I started singing The Wheels on the bus and other songs. There was a little bridge we had to cross and I stopped there looking for salmon and one day we saw some baby ducks. When we got down to a rock out cropping I made mention that there’s the bear cave. Soon I had one the girl over and she began singing with me and striking up conversations. She only wanted me to walk her to her house and sometimes I would have to carry her because it was too icy. One time had a basketball game I was seated in the bleachers and she was down on the court and saw me and smiled and started talking amongst her family members and I heard one of her cousins ask her what did you call him? She sheepishly answered replying Grandpa. The cousin and all the family looked up at me and were smiling and I said what did she say and they said she called you Grandpa. I just smiled but from that moment on she had me. I don’t know if I saved her or she saved me. But for the next several years that we were in Alaska, we had a special bond. That became my village name, and even her real Grandpa called me Grandpa. She’s now a well-mannered model student and although she still has her medical problems, she is on her way to live in a productive life. My point is bus drivers can get stressed on the job, and even though there are cameras on the bus, parents and students can and do make accusations. But I know many bus drivers have made special bonds with students and driving a bus can become more if you get the right person into the job. Not everybody’s cut out for it. If the job met just driving a bus anybody can do that but there’s more to it.

  6. While they’re at it, why don’t they recognize that the land once belonged to Russia? And why don’t they acknowledge that the land currently belongs to the United States, state of Alaska and Municipality of Anchorage? And why not acknowledge whatever private landowner/homesteader who owned it before conveying it to ASD?

    Stop this insanity!

      • Correction: Russians “stole” it third or fourth time around. Note that property ownership hundreds of years ago was done by slightly different techniques than they are done today (usually). What you define as theft was then the way EVERYONE did property transfer at the time. Incoming tribes / peoples / groups generally acquired the land by killing who was already there. But you already know that, don’t you , Greg? Cheers –

    • Dan Baldwin, why stop with the Russians? The current occupants claiming to be indigenous to this area of South Central Alaska are colonizers. They moved in from the Copper River region and begin displacing the former group through violence who had occupied the place for thousands of years. Shouldn’t that be acknowledged too?
      Maybe if we taught real history to our children we could actually educate them.

      Yes, stop the insanity! (along with the meaningless virtue smoke signals)

        • I never knew of a fool so dead set on demonstrating he was a fool, either. Thanks for stepping up, though. Cheers –

        • Back up and recognize that everyone in the world (go back as far as you want) lives (lived) on land that was once occupied by someone else.

  7. Maybe while we work up an apology for “taking” land from the Eklutna Indians (who never used Anchorage anyway, except for an occasional fish camp), we could also apologize for dragging them out of the stone age and paying for their health care, housing needs, and setting up the Native Corporations for their benefit. You know, equal time.

    • Whatever makes you feel fuzzy inside. If asked, and I did, they would say they’d give it all back. All it did was ruin their culture. Why do you hate natives so badly? You don’t have to apologize. Just acknowledge the event. It’s not so hard to do is it? Stop twisting things hater.

  8. Re the mea culpa, I’m waiting for Assembly and School Board members to donate their homes to their closest native friend. Why apologize when they can so easily fix the alleged wrong?

    • Just stop! That’s not going to happen. If folks wanted to Will their property to the tribe that would be one thing similar to the way that they will their property and other things too UAA. But that wouldn’t fix anything would it the deed has been done. So here we are today with Alaska split, the natives raking in their corporation checks, and racists in Alaska hating them for getting one. Since you don’t seem to be morally affected by conquering people wiping out a nation or a civilization, surely you won’t be affected when China takes us out. Just say oh well, and passed the wontons.

    • Allegedly wrong huh? Let’s look at this scenario shall we? You own this piece of land and one morning there’s a knock on the door. A guy is standing there in a fur hat with a mustache and he’s Russian. He starts explaining to you that you don’t own the land. In fact he starts telling you that he owns the land but he’s going to sell it to these guys down south and he’ll have to deal with them. He says don’t worry you can still hunt here and fish here and live in your house that’s not a problem. Then a couple of days later one of those guys from the south comes up and says hey we’re the new landowners. We bought this land from the Russian. You tried to explain to him that the Russians didn’t own the land but he won’t listen to you. He says don’t worry, you can still live on the land and live in your house even that’s fine. Fast forward to present day and I’ve got knuckleheads like you saying allegedly. There are no words to describe your ignorance.

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