Rome, N.Y. - The start of the school year in Rome was delayed one week this year due to the damage to Staley Elementary during last month's flooding, and students finally made their return on Monday.
It was a lot to undertake for the Rome City School District as not only did it have to deal with the relocation of students from Staley Elementary, which was flooded out last month and currently is unusable, into other elementary schools, but Monday was also day one for a new bus company.
Rome Schools Superintendent Peter Blake says amazingly everything ran as smooth as it possibly could have on Monday.
He says he may have a better idea on Tuesday as far as the bussing situation goes since only half of the high school students started on Monday. Each year the district lets the 9th and 10th graders come on the first day to get them acclimated in a less chaotic environment.
The juniors and seniors will begin on Tuesday.
Blake says the biggest thing on day one is always last minutes changes to the bussing stops, "Parents saying my kid is not going to ride the bus, a parent saying I want my kid to go to this house after school instead of the address you have on file, or pick me up at a different location, so unfortunately there's a lot of last-minute changes. I want to try to accommodate as many of those people as you can, that's going to create some bumps and bruises."
Blake says the moving of students from Staley into the district's other elementary schools took a lot of work by a lot of people in a very short amount of time, but Monday proved to be a big success, "The Staley closure was a big lift for the past two weeks. I spent most of my time today in the elementary buildings walking around, kind of seeing what that looks like and I've got to say our staff is tremendous, the teachers have acclimated well with each other. We've got a lot of great things happening. If you walk through our classrooms today at the elementary level you would've never known that three weeks ago we had seven elementary schools and not six. The teachers, administrators, the custodians, just did a fantastic job getting schools ready for today."
As far as the future of Staley Elementary, that is still up in the air as to whether it will be repaired or not, so the new schools the students from Staley have been put in, are now their permanent schools, at least for now.