Transportation to/from school in Marengo

Dear Marengo Community Members: This petition is to show community support for a transportation program in Marengo that would provide rides to school for small children living within the city limits. Our city lacks before and after school programming for our children at the elementary school, so working families need to rely on in-home daycares for the most part to provide for our children during this time. We are fortunate enough to have a few options in regard to qualified care, however there are very few (1 or 2) in-home providers that are able to provide transportation for young school age children to and from school. Parents and well as providers are encountering problems due to the lack of transportation. Child Care providers are using several strategies as a result of the transportation problem: 1) Not accepting school age children because they cannot provide for transportation. This is an issue considering that there is not a child care center in town to turn to if all the in-home day cares are full. IN addition, these home businesses are unable to maximize their earning potential due to the age restrictions they have had to make due to transportation. 2) Having children walk to school. There are children walking 8-10 blocks to the elementary school. Older children are put in charge of watching the younger children during the walk. Although this is a solution, elementary age children are not responsible enough to monitor a small child, nor in all fairness should they be expected to be. 3) Carpools are employed and background checks of drivers are not necessarily the norm. Parents do not always know the people driving their children to school. 4) Providers may need to have a family member or friend watch the smaller kids while they drive the school kids. Again, background checks are not always the norm. Parents want to know who is watching out children at all times, and this situation is not always comfortable for parents. 5) Daycare providers lose revenue by having to pay someone to drive or watch some children while they drive others to school. The providers in our community have had to be creative and make do with what that have had to work with. We have many talented and caring individuals caring for our children who have had to employ tactics that even they know are not the ideal. As parents we should know who is watching and driving our children. They should have background checks and be accountable the way any childcare provider is. As parents we should be able to chose a provider based on the quality of care they will receive not weather they have a mini-van or not to drive our kids to school. We should not expect other children to be responsible for our child during the walk to school. But in our community, these are the choices that working parents have and they are not acceptable. There are 19 registered sex offenders in Iowa County. Most of which have victims between the ages of 0-13 with charges ranging from lascivious acts with a child, to sexual abuse, sexual assault, indecent exposure, and sodomy. 5 of them live in Marengo. One out of three children is sexually abused. Thatâ

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