SEATTLE - Seattle Public Schools is proposing some changes for the 2011-2012 school year that would impact its transportation plan. It is an effort to cut costs because of the state's budget shortfall. The district says school start times could also change.
Some students who have bus service this school year will not have it next school year under the proposal. New transportation zones are included in the plan, which will take 80 school buses off the road and streamline bus service primarily for elementary school students and K-8 schools. The school district wants to decrease bus ride time to 25 minutes or less.
"We're trying to move to a system, in three years, where all of our attendance area schools…will have transportation that's within a mile and a quarter of their school and no route will be longer than 25 minutes. That way providing all families with a real transit dependable system," said Tom Bishop, Seattle School District Transportation Manager. "In the meantime, we do have, because of our new student assignment plan, a number of students that still live a long distance away…those are going to be restricted to certain times to still allow us to have timely bus routes. We will have some areas where currently we have routes that are over an hour long and the students that are being served by those routes generally would not continue to have service."
In an effort to set school bus driver schedules, some school classes would begin even earlier under the proposal. Some high schools and middle schools would start 10 minutes earlier. Elementary schools would start five minutes earlier or later.
"To be able to move to a full three-tiering (schedule), where a school bus driver does three routes in the morning and three routes in the afternoon, we needed to have a number of our middle schools and high schools move ten minutes earlier. And, some of our elementaries (schools) actually go about five minutes later in the afternoon so that we can build that system," Bishop said.
Parents can learn more about it before the school board votes on February 16th. This link take you to a site to learn more about meetings that will offer more details on the proposed changes.http://www.seattleschools.org/area/news/1011/20110124_Transportation_Plan_community_meeting.pdf
This proposed plan would save $4 million, the equivalent of 45 teaching positions. Below is a link to the transportation proposal: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/transportation/index.dxml