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July 12, 2011  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

District struggles to break even with fee-for-service busing


FALCON, Colo. — As of last week, Falcon School District 49 has only signed up half the number of student riders needed to break even on its new fee-for-service busing program.

Students must pay $1 per ride this year, and officials are hoping to increase the number of riders from 1,450 to 3,000 before school starts on Aug. 2, The Gazette reports. D-49 Transportation Director Cindy Hardin said 3,000 was the number of students needed for the district to break even on the cost of the service.

“We’re doing everything we can to make people aware of the change,” Hardin told the newspaper, adding that she is concerned that many aren’t aware of the changes spurred by school board decisions in recent months. Information has been sent to all families in the district.

In late April, the school board voted to reinstate the transportation department as a fee-for-service operation with no budget, other than the money needed to transport special-needs students, according to The Gazette. No funding to cover start-up costs was mentioned at the time.

The new operation incorporates a combination of circuit busing and corridor busing to centralize bus stops, and increasing some walk distances and ride times. This allows service to be extended to charter school students. In addition, students of all ages will ride the same bus.

If the transportation department is not able to meet its obligations as a fee-for-service operation, there are other options, such as going back to bus companies that bid on the service, school board Vice President Chris Wright told the newspaper.

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