District looks at reducing buses
Tim Cox, the transportation supervisor with the South-Western City Schools District, is looking for ways to cut costs in the department.
At a recent board of education meeting, Cox presented his ideas.
A performance audit, completed by the Auditor of State, said the district could save approximately $3.2 million by making cuts in several areas, including transportation. Changes in the transportation budget could save $305,000.
The audit suggested reducing at least nine active buses and cutting routes. It also recommended the purchase of 72-passenger buses instead of 84-passenger buses.
Cox said the size reduction would not be cost effective.
The transportation supervisor explained there is a $2,000 difference in price between the 72 and 84-passenger bus.
“We can use the 84-passenger buses,” said Cox.
He said while the high school buses are not typically full, the lower grade levels are. Cox said the smaller sized bus could get too crowded.
Cox said one way to cut down on routes would be to offer an opt-in, opt-out for juniors and seniors.
The high school buses are not full because many juniors and seniors drive. Under the option, the students would contact the district and tell them they do not need transportation. The district is not eliminating transportation for juniors and seniors. If they need a ride, they would get one.
Cox said if the older students do not have a vehicle, or their parents ground them from driving, they could contact the district and request a bus pick them up. The request may take a few days to process.
Another factor to be considered before reducing the fleet size and routes are special education students. Drivers transport special education students to 42 schools, some of which are outside the district.