By CATRINA FRANCIS
Gold Standard Senior Staff Writer
Providing the best customer service has always been the No. 1 priority for Fort Knox Child, Youth and School Services. But, in the last year CYSS had to scale down a few of its programs, mainly transportation for their youth and teens who attend off-post schools in Radcliff.
Early this year CYSS terminated its transportation program for off-post children who attend elementary schools in Radcliff. Rayceil Oggs, the chief of CYSS, thought the program would be able to continue transportation to Devers Middle School and Teen Center, but that changed when Hardin County schools were unable to bid on the contract as they had in years past.
Eddie Ragland, the director at Devers, added that Hardin County schools will be using the busses to transport children to Elizabethtown Com-munity and Technical College for its new initiative—Early College and Career Center.
“I do know it is a challenge at times to have enough buses/drivers to fulfill a requirement,” Oggs said.
Oggs also said she doesn’t receive funding from the Army for off-post transportation, even though there is a need for it.
“The contract with Hardin County to coordinate transportation to J.T. Alton, Bluegrass (and) North middle schools, North and John Hardin high schools worked out for three years,” explained Oggs. “Because of new programs they couldn’t bid on the contract to do transportation for us.
“They have to take care of Hardin County schools, and they only have so many drivers. (They) tried, but (it) couldn’t work (on-post transportation) into their schedules.”
Oggs pointed out that CYSS looked at other sources but that meant the cost to parents would have doubled or tripled. Oggs also said they had to look at the number of teens who used transportation to Devers to see if the cost could possibly be passed on to parents, but that too wasn’t cost effective.
“Parents would have (paid between) $125 to $300 per month,” said Oggs. “That $125 per month depended on 50 to 60 children (attending Devers on a daily basis). We knew that was not going to happen. So we had to cancel (transportation).”
Oggs noted that after-school care isn’t provided to middle school children and that means parents have to use other avenues for providing care.
Although more than 125 teens were registered at Devers, Ragland said about 55 attended on a regular basis. Since transportation has been cancelled, Ragland said his staff at the center will also change.
“Our staff is based on ratio,” he said. “(That) means less hours and (less) diverse programs.”
Oggs pointed out that a lot of parents are unhappy about CYSS not having transportation because many moved from metropolitan areas that offered activities for kids such as Boys and Girls Clubs.
“The positive thing is (the kids) are still eligible for services when school is out and in the summer—(we will still have) an array of services,” she said. “Fort Knox teens are not happy because they established friendships (with kids who attend school off post).”
Ragland is also worried that the programs will suffer because there won’t be as many teens attending the center.
“After-school programs are more dynamic if you have 12 or 15,” Ragland said, “(we) will see those numbers diminishing in those clubs.”
Oggs isn’t optimistic about transportation returning for off-post children.
“The only way (transportation) will come back is if the Army gives us more money,” she said.