District may charge per-ride fee to ease budget woes

Posted on May 5, 2010

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — Douglas County School District (DCSD) is considering charging a per-ride fee for students to be transported in its school buses to help offset a budget shortfall. 

The district faces a $31-million reduction for the next school year. The cost to transport 17,000 of DCSD’s students is $960 each, with total transportation costs at approximately $16 million.

If a fee is not charged, the district reports, transportation service will need to be reduced to avoid other cuts that would further impact the classroom.

The proposed fee would be $.50 per ride, per child and would begin in the 2010-11 school year.

Community feedback indicated that per-ride fees were preferred over a flat rate — it would allow families to pay according to their use of the district’s buses. To make this possible, DCSD is installing Zonar GPS units on each bus, which will track student ridership through the ZPass system.

The district scheduled three meetings to discuss the proposed fee and to provide school advisory councils, parents and the public with more information about the fee. One meeting was held last week, and the others will be held this week. 

The district’s advisory committee will then coordinate feedback from the school advisory councils to provide a recommendation to the district’s board of education at its May 18 meeting.

Related Topics: budget cuts, bus fees

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