WORCHESTER, Mass. — Telegram & Gazette reports that a Worchester Public Schools transportation audit, conducted by Maryland-based School Bus Consultants, finds that the district could save $1.2 million per year if it cut bus service for grades 7-12. However, many are opposed to the idea.
School Committee member John Monfredo told the newspaper that eliminating the transportation service would be an “academic disaster,” due in part to chronic absenteeism. The School Committee’s policy is to provide busing for all students who live more than two miles from their school even though the state does not mandate busing for students beyond grade 6.
The Worchester City Council requested the report because of what it called ongoing increases in "non-education" spending, of which transportation spending is a big piece, according to Telegram & Gazette. The district's transportation costs last year were about $15.8 million, and are projected to be about $16.5 million in fiscal 2015.
Overall, the study was complimentary of the district’s operational efficiency. Jeff Viar, project manager for the consulting firm, told the newspaper that the audit identified opportunities for improvements “from a cost perspective and from a management and administrative perspective."
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