Warsaw Schools Discusses Transportation Options

(Photo supplied/Warsaw Community Schools)

Warsaw Community School Board heard about its transportation options for busing students to and from school next year during its meeting Tuesday.

School Bus Consultants, Hermitage, Tenn., did a routing and bell time assessment for the district to compare such things as daily vehicle runs, average runs per bus, average capacity utilization from the 2015-16 school year and this year.

According to the assessment, the school district transported 5,058 students during the ’15-16 school year and 4,907 during the current school year. The district has 41 school buses with 164 daily vehicle runs, while in the ’15-16 school year, it had 46 with 185 daily vehicle runs.

The financial costs were also compared between the ’15-16 and ’18-19.

The operational cost for transportation was $2,791,446.54 during the ’15-16 school year and $3,581,128.74 during the ’18-19 school year. The annual cost per student was $546 during the ’15-16 school year and $715 during the ’18-19 school year. The daily cost per bus was $287 during the ’15-16 school year and $390 per bus during the ’18-19 school year.

Griffin Scott, of School Bus Consultants, said the school district was exactly where the company expected the school district to be.

He said the another thing seen from the surveys was that since the school district got rid of five school buses, the run times went up. In the ’15-16 school year, it was 35 minutes, while this year it was 47 minutes.

The consulting company also gave five alternative busing schedules.

WCS Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert said a survey will be presented to parents to give them a say in which schedule is used.

Hoffert said only two of the alternative options will be given to parents, along with the option of not changing the busing schedule.

Currently, the secondary a.m. deployment starts at 5:35 a.m. and ends at 7:05 a.m., with elementary schools starting at 7:10 a.m. and ending with 8:50 a.m. and the Gateway shuffle starting at 8:40 and ending at 9:15 a.m. The current p.m. run has the secondary dropped off between 3 and 4 p.m., with gateway shuffle from 3:30 to 3:50 p.m. and elementary students being dropped of at 3:40 and 5:30 p.m.

The first alternative option that will be given to parents would flip when schools are picked up and dropped off. The elementary students would be picked up starting at 5:45 to 7:25 a.m., the gateway shuffle starting at 7:20 a.m. and ending at 7:50 a.m. and the secondary students picked up at 7 a.m. and ending at 8:30 a.m. The gateway shuttle will drop students off between 2:05 and 2:20 p.m., elementary students will be dropped off between 2:15 and 4:05 p.m. and secondary students will be dropped off between 4:05 and 5:05 p.m.

The pros stated for this alternative was there is no additional cost, achieves a later start time for secondary students and increases amount of time between the afternoon runs, reducing the likelihood of arriving late, according to the bell time assessment. However, the elementary students would be picked up as early as 5:50 a.m., although the majority would be picked up at 6:30 a.m., and high school students may be released too late, with the last student not arriving home until 5:05 p.m.

The other alternative busing schedule will have no overlap between elementary and secondary students and will have all of the secondary student being picked up between 6:05 and 7:35 a.m., the elementary students being picked up between 7:40 and 9:20 a.m. and the gateway shuffle to pick up students between 9:15 and 9:45 a.m. Secondary students would be dropped off between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., Gateway shuffle between 4 and 4:20 p.m. and elementary students would be dropped off between 4:10 and 6 p.m.

The pro stated for this option was there would be no expected change for transportation and achieves later start time for secondary students. However, the cons are elementary school students are potentially released late with the last student not arriving home until 6 p.m.

Hoffert said the district is looking to make a decision in February or March.

The school board is also going to be issuing a survey to parents for the 2019-20 and 2021-22 school calendars.

Shelly Wilfong, chief analytics officer, said it is a very short survey and parents will be able to see pictures of both options available for the calendar years so they can see it day by day.

Parents can complete the survey at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAlpQLSfC7WBJLTY_1D4xqdgMz016reNPY8yWAZo3wOPVK6vxwybzeQ/viewform.

The school board also announced there will be a make-up date on Feb. 17 for the day that was cancelled in November.