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Parents ask for better communication following incidents at R-P


By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Oct 19th, 2012
Posted in Rushford Education

Just one week after a local publication printed an article highlighting Ready Bus drivers’ irritations with motorists ignoring the stop arms and flashing lights of stopped buses, a bus serving the district was involved in an accident north of Hart township on Highway 43. At approximately 3:45pm, October 12, Brian Moore, 53, of Winona, rear-ended the bus at more than 50 mph. At the time, the bus carried 25 students, aged 7-13, including five who sustained minor injuries. Moore was uninjured.

According to R-P Superintendent Chuck Ehler, Ready Bus Company driver Tim Wilkemeyer saw the incoming impact and quickly instructed the child preparing to exit the bus to sit immediately. After impact, Wilkemeyer was able to pull the bus to a grassy area well off the highway and conduct a check of the students. Rushford Ambulance Service, fire and police departments, along with state highway patrol all responded to the scene.

Parents Tony and Jessica Heiden, who had two children, aged 5 and 7, on the bus were thankful, but concerned over what they believe was a lack of communication from the district. “I’m not sure you were aware of what we were going through. It was very nerve wracking,” stressed Jessica Heiden, whose children arrived home more than an hour after the usual time.

“Those are valid concerns. I understand your frustrations,” responded Ehler. “I sure am empathetic to what was going on in your mind.” According to Ehler, the district did what it could to notify parents, but was limited on information. Having chosen not to go directly to the scene and create further confusion, a command center was setup at the school and staff had multiple phones going trying to both gather and give the needed information.

A second Ready bus was sent to the scene and began taking the remaining students home at 4:45pm, the highway patrol reported the details to Ehler at 6:30pm, and the last of the five students transported for medical care was released by Winona Health at approximately 8pm.

Tom Ready, owner/operator of Ready Bus Company, was also sympathetic to the Heidens’s concerns. “We train drivers on situations like this. Our main concern is worrying about a shock situation and getting a handle on all the people, making sure no one wanders off,” he insisted. “I know you’re concerned. We worry about the people on our buses. We will work hard to make that better for you.”
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R-P continues working towards new elementary facility

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Oct 5th, 2012
Posted in Rushford Education

At the September 17 board meeting, Dean Beeninga, of architectural firm ATS&R, and Gary Benson, of ICS Consulting, were on hand with updates on the proposed early childhood through grade 5 facility. A “Review and Comment,” required by the Minnes ..... 
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Rushford-Peterson Homecoming 2012

Fri, Sep 21st, 2012
Posted in Rushford Education

The R-P Schools will celebrate Homecoming 2012 the week of October 1-6. The Presentation of the Royalty and the naming of the King and Queen will take place at an all-school assembly October 2 at 2:30pm in the High School gymnasium. Parents and the ..... 
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R-P looking at phased new facility

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Jul 20th, 2012
Posted in Rushford Education

After losing out on various state funding for its New School Initiative for a new pre-K-12 facility, R-P is leaving no stone unturned looking at alternative options. This includes an option for a two-part phased construction of the facility instead ..... 
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R-P may catch a break with flood mitigation bill

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Apr 23rd, 2012
Posted in Rushford Education

The district continues to take strides to see its New School Initiative become a reality. It was announced in March that the district’s need had been recognized by the the House Finance Committee who recommended funding of the initiative to the bo ..... 
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