WELLSBORO - Dustin and Hannah Hoffman of Pine Township want the Wellsboro Area School District to provide bus transportation for their two children, Caleb, 13, and Dustin Jr., 11, from the front door of their house.
The problem, according to district officials, is that the Hoffmans, who live within the district, live 3.3 miles past the English Center Bridge, which has a weight limit of three tons - and school buses weigh more. In addition, the road on which they live, Little Pine Creek Road, also is susceptible to flooding throughout the year.
"We've determined we can't put a bus over the bridge and offered to negotiate an individual transportation contract," district superintendent Phil Waber told the school board Tuesday night.
Dustin Hoffman said that because his wife is starting at a job that ends at 6 a.m. and he operates a business in the Valley Forge and King of Prussia areas that keeps him out of Tioga County during the week, neither he nor his wife are able to take the children to the bus stop 3.3 miles away. All their relatives live outside of the area, he said.
Asked if they had a neighbor or relative who could take the children to the bus stop, Hoffman said, not at this time. He said one neighbor does transport his children to the Jersey Shore School District.
The couple said they had talked to state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming, of Muncy. "When we talked to a state representative, he told us it's your responsibility," Hoffman told Waber and the board.
"It is a responsibility but we also are willing to negotiate an individual transportation contract," Waber said.
After the meeting, Hoffman said he felt it was a case of "rural discrimination" and would be talking with his attorney on Wednesday.
In other business, the board:
postponed approval of a new bus contractor's agreement for regular and extracurricular transportation until Sept. 9
awarded a $59,592 contract to Capitol Door and Hardware Co. Inc. of New Cumberland for replacement cylinders and lockset at Don Gill Elementary and Rock L. Butler Middle schools. At last week's work session, board members agreed that the bid should be approved and awarded should be approved next week because of safety and American Disability Act concerns. The district first received estimates for both schools totaling $36,000.
approved a proposed settlement between the school district and S.A. Communale Co. with the district paying $12,000 for a change order to put pipe across the road from the old high school building to the new high school building. The original cost was $14,515, Waber said. Communale filed legal action against the district, but in the agreement waived all legal fees.