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June 19, 2014  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

District considers opt-out option due to nearly empty buses


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WESTFIELD, Mass. — The Republican reports that the Westfield Public School District is considering alternatives to deal with nearly empty buses, including asking students who drive themselves to and from school to opt out of the free school transportation system.

Superintendent of Schools Suzanne Scallion told the district’s school committee on Monday that the option is voluntary and if students who opt out of the transportation system discover afterward that they need transportation later in the school year, they will be able to opt back in, according to The Republican.

If the school district proceeds with the option, it would not see a substantial savings until 2016 when the department seeks out new bids for continued school bus contracts. However, some savings could be realized during the 2014-15 school year through the reallocation of resources and a possible reduction in fuel costs.

Currently, 30 school buses with 47-student capacities serve the high schools daily. Many of them travel with fewer than a dozen riders on board.

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We monitor our routes continually throughout the school year for student ridership and efficiencies. We will adjust, combine and possibly reduce the number of routes based on the tracked data. Our high school student handbook addresses transportation and parking permits and states, "students who request a parking permit will be dropped from transportation. In the event that later in the year the student requires service, they will need to go to an existing stop until a closer stop to their home address is estblished."

Robin    |    Jun 20, 2014 10:55 AM

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