As a lifelong West Milford resident whose children are a product of the West Milford Public Schools system, I am an advocate for always doing what is best for our school children. I am disheartened that the board of education is looking at privatizing school busing. This issue was explored years ago and privatizing our school busing was shown to provide no cost savings.

Currently, the West Milford Public School District spends approximately $5.15 million of its $74.4 million budget on transportation, which is in line with surrounding school districts. While privatizing our transportation services would not alleviate any cost, the investigation of the policy would create additional expenses.

Board member William Cytowicz has said, “We`re not the board of employment; we`re the board of education.” As a board member, the priority should be the school children, parents and our community as a whole. It is said that it takes a village to raise a child; a village of people that all know each other and want the best for all of the children in our town. Parents feel at ease when the people driving their children to school are their friends and neighbors; that they are also the same people that know the treacherous roads that we may have during the winter.

It is no secret that there has been some turmoil in the school's transportation services, a culture of intimidation and low morale is not an acceptable work environment. However, this environment has not led to an excessive cost, and I see this effort to privatize school busing as a move by the president of the board of education to sweep management over the school system under the rug, instead of addressing any issues head on. The school board should work together and address any problems with transportation instead of asking taxpayers to spend more for a private company.

Passaic County Freeholder Terry Duffy

West Milford