KATY, Texas — The Katy Independent School District (ISD) board of trustees last week approved a change in the eligibility requirements for students to receive transportation services.
Starting in August 2012, the eligibility for bus transportation will change from the current three-tenths of a mile to approximately half a mile for elementary students and approximately one mile for junior high and high school students. Bus transportation will continue to be provided for students for whom a hazardous condition may exist between home and school, as well as special-needs bus routes.
Approximately 52 bus routes (elementary and secondary) will be eliminated, affecting approximately 6,600 students, or nearly 21% of the 32,000 students that ride school buses daily, officials said.
The Katy ISD transportation department will begin building bus routes in June and have specific routing information available for parents sometime in August.
The changes are the result of the transportation department experiencing challenges this year in having a sufficient number of drivers available to meet daily transportation route requirements. Due to vacant routes and driver absences, there have been days in which the department has found it necessary to find drivers to cover up to 46 routes.
Officials said the changes will allow the district to better meet route driver needs and will provide for more effective route management, including driver training and driver support in issues involving student management.
“The change in transportation services comes after extensive review of our current transportation operations that not only revealed a heavy burden for drivers covering multiple routes, but also a high amount of uncertainty and risk due to vacant routes and driver absences,” Katy ISD Superintendent Alton Frailey said. “In comparison to other school districts, Katy ISD’s transportation eligibility distances remain among the shortest in the Houston area, as many districts require students to live outside of a two-mile radius.”