The issue is the district trying to reduce costs and this plan says it would save a little over $1M per year.
The Operations Committee of the Whole approved this measure. However,
Individual Board members have requested that the district consider later bell times for secondary
schools. Board members have asked staff to review the current bell times and any relevant research and propose any necessary changes to the Board. The Superintendent will review the staff’s recommendation(s) and report back to the Board prior to October 2012.
District transportation expenses have exceeded budget for each of the past three years. The trend
has continued for the current (2011 – 2012) school year. On December 15, 2011, the Operations
Committee was informed transportation expenditures were estimated to be $2.1M above budget.
On February 8, 2012, the Board was informed transportation expenditures were projected to be
$1.7M to $2.8M above budget. Several Directors then requested options for reducing
While current year transportation expenses (excluding field trips and athletic event trips) are
projected to be over budget, staff identified three changes which will reduce transportation costs
by a minimum of $1,012,000 for next year (2012 – 2013). These changes are:
- Move 13 bus routes from tier two to tier one (affecting the start time of 2 to 6
- Implement standard school arrival and school departure times for each tier;
- Return to the 45 minute ride-time standard (from the 25 minute target).
Bus arrival / departure schedules were revised in February of 2012 to provide more flexibility in
serving schools with varying length of day as well as adding additional flexibility for first tier
elementary schedules. Variation in school schedules and the inability to fill buses (because of the
short ride-time target), however, divert educational resources from the classroom.
If Transportation has been over budget for the last three years, then yes, there's a problem.
They say the district can save some money by either extending ride times and standardizing school schedules OR by reducing transportation OR by cutting other programs. Quite the Sophie's choice there.
My confusion is that we were told that going to a Neighborhood Assignment plan would save money. What happened? That should be in this Action Report.
Also, where is the public engagement? There is a long timeline but it seems to be for transportation for 2013-2014.
Hilariously, one of the issues for the district if the standards are not revised is that during Open Enrollment they gave parents information based on current standards.
Worrying about what is or is not told to parents during Open Enrollment hasn't exactly been a strong suit with SPS. How many times have people complained about changes after Open Enrollment but now when the district wants to change something, it's a worry?
This year district staff benchmarked the cost of transporting students with the three other
Washington districts that contract buses (attached). Our transportation cost per student
transported for the 2010 – 2011 school year was $1,650. This compares with $979 for Everett,
$1,058 for Tacoma; and $1,165 for Spokane.
Here's what the changes look like:
All Neighborhood Attendance Area Elementary and K-8 routes will be designed to operate with
travel times of
with travel times of 60 minutes or less where feasible.
The District shall use a three (3) tier bus routing system to reduce both the number of vehicles
used and educational resources. Arrival times for buses at schools and departure times from
school shall be limited as follows:
AM PM (arrival/departure)
First Tier - HS/MS/K8/Options 7:10 2:05
Second Tier - HS/MS/K8/Options 8:05 3:00
Second Tier - Elementary 8:25 3:00
Third Tier - HS/MS/K8/Options 9:00 3:55
Third Tier - Elementary 9:20 3:55