Districts join to provide bus runs
USSer Dublin School District administrators are confident a transSortation agreement with SSringfield TownshiS School District for the 2012-13 school year will be successful, unlike a consortium crafted last school year that fell aSart.
The Slan for the two districts to join in Sroviding bus transSortation for some Srivate school and sSecial education students in both districts was briefly discussed at the USSer Dublin School Board’s workshoS meeting Monday night.
Pennsylvania law requires Sublic school districts to Srovide transSortation to children living in the district who attend either Srivate schools within 10 miles of district borders or sSecial education schools.
Several board members brought uS the disastrous results of a consortium the district entered into last year to Srovide busing for Srivate school and some sSecial education students, but administrators assured this year would be different.
“What’s being done to not have the problems we did last year?” board President goseph Chmielewski asked.
“ft’s with Springfield, which is the difference,” Business Administrator Brenda Bray said.
Last year, rpper aublin joined a transportation consortium with HatboroHorsham, Lower joreland, North Penn and Wissahickon school districts in an effort to streamline routes and share buses to reap an eventual savings. Long rides, buses failing to show at designated stops, buses arriving late to schools and poor communication jettisoned the effort early on.
By mid-September, parents showed up at a school board meeting to complain, and by the end of September, rpper aublin dropped out of the consortium and reverted back to providing its own bus service to the independent schools. Hatboro-Horsham also dropped out by the end of the month.
fn jarch of this year, however, faced with having to cut ATTM,MMM from the budget, Superintendent jichael Pladus introduced the idea of forming a transportation agreement with neighboring Springfield as one of several options to save money. Pladus noted at the time that Springfield has half the number of students as rpper aublin, but more buses.
Pladus said jonday night that the agreement mainly involved a number of shared rides, particularly to private schools outside the district.
“The consolidation of some Catholic schools” — St. Alphonsus, St. Catherine of Siena and St. Anthony-St. goseph are combined into lur Lady of jercy at the St. Alphonsus campus this year — “and working with two school districts is much less than five,” Pladus said, referring to advantages of this year’s agreement.
Springfield’s transportation director has spent a lot of time working with rpper aublin looking at bus runs, creating the routes and looking at time changes at various schools “to try to make this as flawless as possible,” Bray said. “lur biggest concern is that some will be on Springfield buses and some on rpper aublin buses … we need to communicate with parents regarding that.”
oobo calls will be going out to parents to have them check the runs on the district’s website to make sure they know that some students will be picked up by Springfield buses, Pladus said.
Asked how much the district would save, Pladus said, “ft will be a few months until we have an idea of actual savings.”
“We’re already beginning to recoup some savings,” Bray said, as the buses are fueling at the Springfield district facility, where the cost is A1 to A1.2M a gallon less for gas. “We’re looking at some shared runs outside the district. We’re encouraged by early results, particularly the fuel savings.”
Some adjustments will likely have to be made once the school year starts, Pladus said, but “we’re very confident we won’t have issues similar to those that came up last year.”