EDSWARDVILLE, Ill. — A redesign of the local school district’s transportation system will result in savings of $736,000 for the 2011-12 school year, district officials said.
The plan was approved by Edwardsville School District 7’s board of education last week.
Superintendent Ed Hightower noted that the entire transportation redesign process was data-driven, using geographic information system technology.
“The cost-reduction strategies utilized are codependent and cannot be implemented in isolation,” Hightower said.
There are six strategies involved, covering:
• Shuttle buses (two schools will serve as transfer locations)
• Consolidation of bus stops
• Removal of stops for non-riders (which resulted in cutting about 650 of the 2,630 bus stops that were assigned to students for 2010-11)
• Modification of start and end times for middle schools and high school (moving them up 15 minutes)
• Consolidation of after-school activity bus runs
• Modification of early bird schedule
District 7 officials said that there are contingency plans in place due to the magnitude of the redesign. There will be eight buses and drivers available on standby during the first few weeks of school. During that time, the district’s transportation committee will monitor and make necessary adjustments to the redesign plan.
Also in the area of cutting costs, Hightower noted that the district will have reduced its transportation fleet by 21 of 69 buses (about 30 percent) during the past two years for a total savings of about $1 million.
According to Hightower, the state’s reimbursement for regular-education transportation to District 7 has been reduced from $3 million to $1.7 million over the past three years.
“The state of Illinois is currently facing an $18 billion deficit, and the state will owe District 7 $5 million in the mandated categoricals of transportation and special education by the end of 2010-11, including $1.3 million in regular-education transportation funding,” Hightower said.