Solanco implementing plan that will reduce transportation costs

| July 20, 2012

The Solanco School District has received a strong favorable response that will enable it to implement its plan to reduce transportation costs by paying parents of non-public school students to drive their children to and from regional bus stops (hubs), where they will be picked up and dropped off by Solanco buses each day. Or, parents will participate in the plan by driving their children to and from their non-public schools each day.
A total of 97 Solanco families with non-public school students were eligible to participate in the plan. After Solanco Transportation Director Jason McClune met with non-public school officials and parents this spring to explain the plan, 51 families, or nearly 53 percent of the eligible families, agreed to participate.
The 51 families participating in the plan will enable Solanco to establish seven hubs which will significantly reduce the number of bus stops, reduce the mileage, and eliminate three buses from the non-public bus runs. Including the cost for the payments to the participating families, implementation of the plan this year will result in an estimated total savings of more than $118,000 for the district and taxpayers.
Previously, because of the large size of the Solanco School District (at 180 square miles Solanco is the largest school district in Lancaster County), and with considerable driving distances between homes, many non-public students have had individual bus stops at their homes. During the 2011-2012 school year, Solanco transported 154 students to 15 non-public schools each day; the students were picked up and dropped off at 106 bus stops. On average, each non-public bus stop cost the Solanco School District approximately $3,000 per year. The hubs, and parents driving their children to non-public schools, will reduce the number of bus stops and the cost of each stop.
Parents who have chosen to participate will receive $500 for getting their children to and from the hub or their non-public school. Payments will be $250 in January 2013 after the student was enrolled in non-public school the entire first semester, and $250 in June 2013 after the student was enrolled the entire second semester. In the first year, parents were also offered a $200 opt-in payment for enrollment.
Covered waiting areas will be established at each hub. When buses pick up students at a hub they will travel either directly to school, or will make only minimal stops. This will address the most common concern/complaint received from non-public school parents, that their children spend too much time on the bus, and/or have to transfer vehicles too many times.
By law, school districts are required to transport resident non-public students to schools located up to 10 miles outside of the district.

Category: School Board News

About the Author ()

Keith Kaufman is the Director of Community Relations for Solanco School District. 786-5617.

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