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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Transportation Changes May Be Coming

In starting this discussion, I will make a point about transportation in SPS that was made at the Work Session on the Budget. 

Overall, SPS transports many more students than the average district does.  My understanding of that meaning is that many other districts do not provide transportation to schools outside of your neighborhood and the amount of transportation available to middle/high school students is far less in other districts.

I understand the concern about limiting transportation especially when so much has been provided in the past.  I also understand that it can be seen as a social justice issue when cutting off transportation makes it harder for some families to access programs.  But this is the way it is in most urban cities and students are still able to access schools via public transportation.  (I know in NYC that many students take the subway or bus - for an hour or more each way - in order to access speciality programs.)

So what is to follow here may seem a shock to the system but really, it's actually being more in line with what other districts do. 

To first understand, SPS is estimated to spend nearly $31M on transportation this school year.  That's a fair chunk of change.  It breaks out to nearly $16M for Gen Ed, $14M for Special Ed and about $970K for homeless students. 

Bob Westgard, the head of Transportation, seems completely serious about trying to rein in these costs and his presentation to the Board reflected that.

Options:

1) Limit transportation to neighborhood schools for elementary and K-8.  This is estimated to save about $3M. 

2) End transportation for Option School Gen Ed students.  This could save about $1.7M.  In surveying 27 other districts, Mr. Westgard said that 60% do not provide transportation to option schools.

3)  and 4) would limit transportation to neighborhood schools for middle and high school students.  The savings here is not as great as many of these students already use public transportation, bike or have a car.   For secondary, it looks like it would save about $700k.  But it would end giving ORCA cards out. 

5) Try to find out the numbers of Special Ed students by May, rather than in July/August which creates more of a scramble.  Cost savings TBD.

6) End Head Start busing unless externally funded.  Savings = $220k.   One issue here is that SPS receives some matching funds for which the transportation costs are included and so that could change that match number.

7) End busing and ORCA cards for APP and IB programs.  Savings = $700k.

8) Alternative funding for crossing guards.  As you may recall, the City used to pay for this and stopped and it became another transportation cost for SPS.  One thought for funding is to have the bus "paddles" have cameras and the City could give out tickets for people who do not obey the paddle signal.  In order to fund the crossing guards, I don't think this is a bad idea at all. 

9) Only permit late arrival/early release when district-wide OR externally funded.  I'm sure many parents would say "great" on this one because of the varying number of dates at each school.  The district can't afford this added cost if it is school-generated.  It has cost up to $200k but has gone down somewhat but it all depends on what is scheduled.

10)  The biggie - Move to a 3-Tier schedule with one-hour intervals (7:30 am, 8:30 am and 9:30 am) - this could save over $2M.  This means flipping the schedule with high school students going later and elementary students going earlier.

11) contract out bus monitors (about $100k).  I didn't even know SPS used bus monitors.

Clearly, #10 would mean the biggest changes and it was noted that there would have to be negotiations with labor as well as meeting RCW requirements.   

What was stressed in the discussion by both Westgard and various Board members is what could be implemented next school year versus those that need more planning time.

Several of the Board members liked the idea of the 3-tier system including Director Peaslee.  Westgard said it wasn't so much a challenge to Transportation as it would be to Enrollment. 

President Smith-Blum pointed out that it seemed wrong to not give transportation to APP and IB students who don't really have a choice of where to go to access these programs.  Westgard seemed to think that APP middle and high school and IB could forgo the transportation but not APP elementary.
She also pointed out that the district gets transportation dollars for APP so she was confused about the costs here.

One issue that Directors wanted to see clarification on is how many students live in the boundaries of each school and how many need transportation.

Director McLaren made the good (and obvious) point that it would be good - if SPS moves to a 3-tier system - to do this in conjunction with the new boundary work that Enrollment is doing. 

Director Patu was asking about the various transportation options and Mr. Westgard said there were 27 exceptions to their transportation standards and they need to start daylighting them for examination.

He pointed out that in Minnesota, all secondary students take public transportation and go to neighborhood schools and, if not, their parents figure out the transportation.

Director Martin-Morris asked if the 3-tier system could be put in place for the coming year, 2013-2014.  Mr. Westgard said yes but to plan it, the decision would need to be make within a month.

Superintendent Banda offered that he had been through a 3-tier transportation change and that it was important to make sure parents understood it clearly.

Director Peaslee asked a question that many parents ask - why is there any yellow bus service for high school?  The answer is because of Special Ed and that directly affects the start times. Westgard pointed out that they use a number of cabs to transport Special Ed students and they had eliminated the use of 85 cabs (but he didn't note how many are still being used).

President Smith-Blum is very in favor of doing what can be done to encourage/aid walking and biking to school.   She was also questioning eliminating transportation to some students on a bus line but not others.

Director Carr seemed very on-board with getting something into play by next school year and asked many pertinent questions on this issue.

So weigh in and not just here.  Let the Directors know your thoughts about any or all of this because I think it will help inform their vote.

Bottom line through is that I believe district leaders - both hired and elected - believe that transportation costs MUST be cut.

I also note that Governor Inlsee's budget plan would FULLY fund a new transportation formula for 2013-2014 at about $198M.  But we have to wait until the House and Senate budget come into play (this by April 10th) to see if any changes in the state budget could help the district's budget.  

50 comments:

Po3 said...

If they end Orca cards, would families then need to drive kids to high school or pay bus fare? Seems like this could be a real financial hardship for many families.

Also, by cutting APP service - does that mean they will be redirecting the funding they receive for APP transortation to the general transportation fund? Can they do that?

I am all for the 3-tier system!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Po3, I don't know the answers to either question. It seems that the City/county might give students who now have to take the bus a discount like in other cities. As for APP, yes, good question about those dollars.

ben said...

It would be a great side effect if they did make the high school start times later. That aligns with all the research that teenagers function better on a later schedule.

Ben

Liz said...

Are you saying that elementary schools could start as early as 7:30? I always thought the later start times for elementary schools were out of respect for the additional sleep that younger kids need. I can't even imagine how I'd get my 5 year old to school by 7:30.

Anonymous said...

An issue with the three tier start times, and elementary possibly being first, is that young students would be walking to school or the bus stop in the dark for a good portion of the year. They would also be getting out super early in the afternoon - wouldn't it be close to 1:30? If high school didn't start until 9:30, they wouldn't get out until 4:00.

Be careful what you wish for.

po2

Anonymous said...

We chose a program under the assumption that transportation would be provided. If there is a real possibility that transportion would be cut for next year, then parents need to know now. The public transit option isn't really an option from our location. We would have to consider changing schools.

MS parent

Anonymous said...

Liz, if you can't get your 5 yo moving in the morning, imagine him in high school. It only gets harder!

-parent

Anonymous said...

Between 1) & 2) -- so the plan is/could/would be to cut-off bussing for k-5 kids UNLESS they are going to their assignment attendance area school (excepting homeless, spec ed, and APP {the district MAKES money off of APP transport, that was the point President Smith-Blum was trying to make}).

Do people who just signed up for the option program at STEM @ Boren or Jane Addams k8 realize they're not going to be getting transportation over the years??

True, may not happen this year, but the writing is on the wall in EXTRA LARGE BLOCK LETTERS so if you just signed up or just switched a kid into either one of those programs, you may want to reconsider. Under NSAP, the good news is that you can easily backtrack and enroll in your neighborhood elementary.

Sorry, but forewarned is forearmed. Your child will be establishing friendships in his/her school, and if you can't maintain them in their option school by driving them to and from school everyday for 6 years, perhaps you should reconsider. Everyone should make their choices with wide open eyes. Try and get the word out, it may save some significant heartburn!

-bussing doomed

Anonymous said...

Ballard has an AM bus from Magnolia because there is not enough Metro bus capacity to get the students to school on time.
(the bus is full)

Will they pull that bus forcing all the students back onto 15th ave watching bussses pass them by?

Or will the problem be resolved if HS started at 9:30?

I am astounded that we are back to talking about 7:30 start times - which is really a 7:10 drop off (so students can get breakfast and get to lockers etc.) So back up 40 - 45 minutes and your are looking at 6:30am pick up.

Remember that scenerio?

Mag Mom

north seattle mom said...

Wow. Was there any conversation about the challenges that make for these higher than other district average costs, other than families are used to lots of transportation.

While change are needed, have they completely missed the part where there are large neighborhoods that just don't have schools. Like Mag Mom mentioned, Queen Anne and Magnolia are assigned to Ballard, because there isn't a QA High School.

So if they are serious about transportation costs then they will need to BOTH redraw the boundaries with transportation costs in mind AND add new schools in places to minimize transportation costs.

Projects like two school at Thornton Creek drive up transportation costs because they will take away the walk zone students from the neighboring schools, increasing transportation costs at multiple schools.

Not to mention things like Van Assalt at AAA just a few blocks from another school. So are they considering moving Van Assalt back to Van Assalt so that they can reduce transportation costs.

And then there is West Seattle, where as far as I can tell, the boundaries were drawn to make the most possible expensive transportation.

And Sped, the lets stick sped in any school with open space and worry about transportation later?

Only Seattle would somehow manage to decide that people expect too much transportation rather than accept the fact that decades of bad planning have hinged on transportation being the after thought.

Lori said...

We already have a 3-tier system and have for a couple of years now.

Moving to a 3-tier system is not new; perhaps what could be different is who's on which tier and how far they are spaced apart, but I'm not seeing anything radical by proposing 3 tiers in the future.

I also think that if they cut middle school APP busing, they better plan that into the upcoming boundaries and HIMS/Eckstein/JAMS discussion. I have a 4th grader at Lincoln. I will not be able to driver her to and from HIMS or JAMS every day, so she'd probably end up at Eckstein because she can walk there. They better think this through carefully, openly, and transparently. Moving programs around while simultaneously ending or threatening to end busing means that no one will be able to predict enrollment when drawing up new boundaries next year.

And I'll just add, it never ceases to amaze me how many parts are moving at once in this district. Anyone out there feeling like the new student assignment plan has brought them stability? Yeah, I didn't think so!

biliruben said...

All this is doing is transferring costs from SPS to parents and tripling it. It's incredibly poor, silo-thinking, environmentally damaging and a massive drain on societal productivity, not to mention the massive hit to the environment that thousands of cars added to the daily commutes will create.

Unless there is a huge push, funding and buy-in for walking and biking, this will be a huge drop-off/pick-up cluster and many schools.

We should be better than this.

Anonymous said...

Why not charge bus users? Free for FRL kids. Not to completely pay for bus costs, but to defray the costs. Still a good deal for we who use the buses.

It'd make parents who really don't need the bus and only use it infrequently (a fair number of kids at our neighborhood elem. use it for fun--"I get to ride the bus today!" rather than necessity. Instead of an option that is always there, parents could formally sign up and pay for the privilege. Some parents may decide not to, thus reducing the number of kids taking the bus and maybe saving a bit there.

For those of us who opt in, a reasonable fee would still be well worth it. And then everyone who uses helps to pay for the service, and you could keep trans. to special programs.

Fire Away

Anonymous said...

I like that idea Fire Away. Much rather have option to pay something toward defraying costs of the service than to lose it altogether. And seems fair if you keep it free for FRL (maybe spec ed? ) as you say.

Sniffy

mirmac1 said...

Sniffy,

I agree, but I would stick with FRL and the homeless. The rest would be on a financial need basis, perhaps rising scale of cost.

Eric B said...

I'm surprised that getting rid of ORCA cards is on the table. Last time around, I believe that the ORCA card costs are largely paid by state/federal government, so the net cost to the district was pretty minimal. That was one of the reasons that the argument for keeping North Beach in the Ballard assignment area fell apart--buying those kids ORCA cards to get them to Ingraham wasn't a cost to the district.

parent said...

The neighborhoods and streets surrounding some schools are not equipped to handle the traffic that would result from eliminating busing. Will this be taken into account when weighing options?

Meg said...

The state gives transportation money to districts that provide advanced learning programs.

My understanding is that APP is a cost-neutral program for the district because of this - but SPS cannot take money earmarked to transport APP students and then deny those same students transportation.

Melissa Westbrook said...

One assumption I hear is that parents will drive their children to school. This is more likely for parents of elementary school children but not so much middle and high school.

At the Work Session, I didn't hear any discussion of charging parents although I think that could work if done properly.

Despite the desire for something to be done by next school year, I cannot see how between transportation and boundaries, it could all get done in a fair and coherent fashion.

Liz said...

I like the idea of charging for bus rides before eliminating them. Also sounds like a 7:30 school start time is generally undesirable, regardless of grade - maybe we should do away with 7:30 start times.

Unknown said...

Charging for bus use seems like a no-brainer. They already charge for full-day kindergarten, so at least there's some system in place and the realization that this stuff isn't free and there isn't enough money for it. And it would be good to keep more cars off the road. As it has been said, by charging it will keep people who don't need to use the bus from using it, and free up some capacity.

My older daughter will start kindergarten in 2014, so this doesn't all weigh heavily on my radar yet. But I am leaning in favor of the reference-area school that is in walking distance, partly because I understand that transportation to other schools is uncertain in the long run. I walked to my elementary school (in NYC) as a kid, and I place a high value on that- it's great for the kids to walk together with their friends, it builds community and teaches kids street sense. And I did commute 1 hour + each way on the subway for high school. But we had much better public transportation in NYC than in Seattle. Still, some parents got together and arranged charter transportation for their kids (at great expense). A lot of kids who went to Hunter (in midtown Manhattan) in 7th grade did that.. but by 9th grade we were all capable of figuring out the public system.

Plus I think that an earlier start time for the younger kids would make sense for many working parents. I know people who use before-care starting at 7:30am so they can get to work by 8-ish, and this would really help them. By middle school this is no longer an issue.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Regarding parents paying for transportation, the UW U-Pass, which is an orca card, is $132/quarter. I'm quite sure the UW negotiates a better rate due to the number of riders. Has SPS done that so far? Is that an option? Don't know if there would be the #'s, but worth asking.

~thinking

Melissa Westbrook said...

To note, Transportation says there has to be an hour between start times so with a three-tier system, someone has to start at 7:30 am.

mirmac1 said...

reposting for Anonymous:

"Parents would probably drive/carpool before paying for busing. Also, @unknown is right, Seattle's public transit does not compare to that of other large cities. It's pretty lousy by comparision. If students could rely more on public transit, there probably wouldn't be as great a need for district transportation"

And public transit in Seattle is going to suck even more (pardon my french). Arbor Heights has lost most of it's service. The Metro dude said "well, Seattle's had more service and the eastside and the rest of King County want to get theirs". How efficient is it to run transit in Eatonville or Duvall!?

By the way, the same guy told our neighborhood group that Metro loses money on students riding the bus.

Louise said...

Yes, end ORCA cards for everyone but FRL kids. Seems like a no brainer. We live 2 miles from my kid's high school and the boundary for free cards is 2.5 miles so I buy my kid one every month - it's $45. Not cheap but not a complete hardship either.

And end all yellow busses for high schools - that seems like a no brainer as well. Special Ed excepted.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend in Bellevue who sends her kids to an option type school (the International one). They pay for bussing. I think it is much better to provide bussing with an annual cost, but free for free/reduced lunch families then just take it away. I'm betting some will carpool, but a lot will opt for the convenience of the bussing.

My kids all walk to elementary/middle school so this does not relate to me personally.

NEmom of 3

Anonymous said...

As a full-time working single parent of a 2nd going on 3rd grader, I would LOVE to have a 7:30 start time for elementary kids! It would do away with morning childcare costs and still get me to work on time! Afterschool care is not a factor as my son attends a Boys & Girls Club that is completely free in the afternoons. For my family, it would be a godsend!
-Working Mama

Anonymous said...

I agree- elementary kids are the ones to start at 7:30. I have two, and they are much more prepared to learn at that hour than 14 year olds. Somebody needs to start then with the three tier system; it's damaging to older kids to get up so early, and mid to late elementary school students actually need LESS sleep than teenagers going through puberty.

http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct01/sleepteen.aspx

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/health/24brody.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

-sleeper

TechyMom said...

"To note, Transportation says there has to be an hour between start times so with a three-tier system, someone has to start at 7:30 am."

Or 10:30, which most high school kids would love.

I also wonder what happens when a kid has a daycare location that's not in their attendance area. Can they still get bussing? We were thinking about using this option next year.

Anonymous said...

Table of sunrise/sunset for Seattle:

http://www.mountaineers.org/seattle/climbing/Reference/DaylightHrs.html

po2

Anonymous said...

Re 3 tier system.
What about the impact of starting late has on extracurricular activities for the older grades. Even though it makes sense from a learning perspective - I thought there was often a fuss about sports practice etc if the high schoolers moved to the later start? ?
I personally don't think extracurriculars should be a consideration for start time anyway - what is best practice for learning should.
I also think it is unreasonable to expect little kids to be up and about and ready to learn at 7.30am (esp in winter). Heck, many adults would find that sort of schedule pretty tough.
I don't think convenience for working parents should dictate start time, and besides -we'll be paying for a lot longer after school care hours if school is out at 2.30. Plus what time bedtime for an elementary kid who has to be dropped at school at say 7.20 for a 7.30 start? Need to get up at 6.30 at latest - prob a bit earlier if take into account travel time, and much earlier if catching the bus. Need 10-11 hrs sleep at least according to National Sleep foundation. So you're looking at a 7.30- 8 bedtime maybe? So you get pick kid up from after care and get home from work at 6, do homework, eat dinner, what else -sports practice? Good luck with that 7.30 bedtime!
I understand why the district has to have a tiered system but it is not great for kids ( learning, safety, extracurriculars, sleep etc) or families (fitting in with work, extended childcare costs at either end) to end up with the earliest or latest tier. I'd totally support PFB (pay for bus) to improve transportation coverage/avoid having these tiers.

Sniffy

Anonymous said...

Teenagers need those 10 hours, too. How many of them are making that 8 pm bedtime now, especially since the are biologically programmed to go to bed at 11 or later? Lots of elementary kids all over the country go to school before sunrise- it is absolutely not a big deal, and would definitely simplify after care (I do want to take into consideration working parents, but I think it is probably mostly a wash, slightly favoring early elementary start times).

It would be nice if they could all start at 8:30, with the teens maybe at 9:30. But that's not an option- someone has to take the 7:30 slot, and right now the kids taking it are the kids it most harms. It would be no harm to the elementary kids- in exchange for that early bedtime, maybe they'd get some daylight hours to play outside after school, and it would improve learning outcomes all over the district.

-sleeper

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have spoken with a member of the Transportation Taskforce and they had not recommended that anything change this coming school year. The thought is (and rightly so) that the line should go:

program placement (including Advanced Learning, ELL, Special Ed and international schools)

then

boundaries

then

transportation.

Charlie has been going on about Program placement for years and now would be the time to get on it.

I still advocate that if they are looking at everything, international schools as option schools should be part of that mix.

I see a broad number of views here which is great because it help illuminate the issue. But remember, in the end, it's always about the money.

Anonymous said...

Actually according to the National Sleep Foundation teen 10-17 on average need 8.5-9.25 hr sleep per night, elementary aged kids 10-11hrs (adults 7-9hrs), so I would say the older kids are actually better equipped to get by on less sleep. Of course it's not ideal and studies have shown they do better with a later morning start. Perhaps if they looked into it - they might find the same for younger kids as well though. I'm certainly not aware of any evidence that younger kids are more receptive to learning much earlier in the day. I foresee classrooms full of sleepy, cranky, inattentive kids in those first tier elementary schools. Having such a wide band of times across the 3 tiers in just plain bad. Ok if you get lucky with a middle tier 8.30 start but thats all. I really do not want my kid starting school at a time that is currently before they even get out of bed!

Sniffy

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

10-17 is not a useful range for these purposes- it's puberty that moves back the biological clock, and adds sleep need. A 10 year old needs less sleep than a 13 year old (I posted links above), and by 17 the amount of sleep has evened out, but the bedtime has not reverted(so they still are supposed to be sleeping several hours after elementary students get up).

Little kids definitely do not have the same biological need to go to bed near midnight, and therefore wake up much, much later than those elementary kids. There is scads of research out there that little kids do not do well after about 2 pm, so having them finish earlier is much better. I don't like getting up that early, either, and none of us do now, but I would in a heartbeat for the good of every student in Seattle, including my own when they get to that age. It may be inconvenient for grownups to get up early now, but it's actually bad for a child's educations when they get older.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Transportation has not been provided for daycare or homes outside of reference area for the last two years. I have a child attending a school that was in our cluster under the old plan but not the new. I've had to drive her to and from last year and this. We had the choice of moving her to our neighborhood school but since that is JSIS it would not have worked since she does not have the immersion language skills.
I have heard people say that teenagers need to sleep in before. I don't know if this is true or not,.sine my kids are preteens. However, I was of the generation that was bused from the north end to Garfield, and school started at 7:45 then so we often had to be ready for the bus before 7. That meant getting up before 6 to eat breakfast and fix our hair. We did okay, got into college and all that. I remember having a 9:30 pm bedtime, which was a pain because I often had to miss the last half of the TV shows. I do not remember having the biological imperative to stay up till 11pm. Not to claim that it was pleasant to wait for the bus in the freezing dark morning or anything like that. But we did what we had to do and it was okay.

CCA

Anonymous said...

Since, sorry for typo

CCA

Anonymous said...

Look at the research.

...most adolescents undergo a sleep phase delay, which means a tendency toward later times for both falling asleep and waking up. Research shows the typical adolescent’s natural time to fall asleep may be 11 pm or later; because of this change in their internal clocks, teens may feel wide awake at bedtime, even when they are exhausted (Wolfson & Carskadon, 1998)...

much more information at national sleep foundation
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/hot-topics/backgrounder-later-school-start-times

Moving school later in districts in Minnesota & Kentucky has been shown to improve test scores (especially for lowest achievers), lower absenteeism & drop out rates, lower rates of depression/anxiety, & decrease traffic accident rates.

Sure, we can just make them suck it up & keep sleepwalking through their first 3 classes. But why not reap the benefits of later start times for our teens.



-tired

Anonymous said...

I'm not disputing the benefits of a later start time for teens (though the research on the Nat Sleep Foundation website, demonstrates benefits in moving from a 7.30-7.40ish start to an 8.30-8.40 ish start - nothing about even later start times). I guess I am against a 7.30 start for ANY student population.

Sniffy

Anonymous said...

It might save the district money but removing bussing and forcing parents to either drive their kids or put them on public transport (or carpool) is going to be a lot worse for the environment - more cars on the road.

Paying for bussing seems fair (with the FRL, etc, exceptions that other people have mentioned).

As for start times, not all elementary kids are early birds. Mine is a night owl, frequently reading at 9:30 or 10 pm and having to be functional in school at 8:20am because K-8s are on the same schedule as MS and HS. 7:30am start time would be a deal-breaker for us.

FWIW, as a child in Europe I walked to/from elementary school, then took public transportation for the MS/HS years - a combination of walking, buses and trains, depending on the year / school. At that age, I think it's fine; kids have to develop independence sometime anyway.

--ML Mama

kgroth said...

Has there been discussion on having bus transportation as a two-tier system? Then there could be 8:30 and 9:30am start times. Without seeing the transportation breakdown, I assume that the largest share is for elementary kids and then for Special Ed and Option Schools. The elementary kids could start at 8:30am and then the Special Ed at Middle School and High School could start at 9:30am (and also Option schools if they still get yellow buses). I think 7:30am is too early for elementary kids, my kindergartner wakes up between 7:30-8am.

I was at a Board work session in January where the transportation budget was discussed. To Melissa's point, cost is what is driving the proposed changes. Though our City, County, and State also have a vested interest to reduce congestion. Are they able to allocate funds to support yellow buses and ORCA cards so we don't add many cars on the road during rush hour?

Also, I don't think it's fair to families that if their kid attends their attendance school and boundaries change and it's no longer their attendance school, that they lose busing unless they transfer their kid which is very disruptive.

I live in the Pinehurst neighborhood. I'm concerned that if the new 680 student Jane Addams (E-STEM K-8) school that is replacing the Pinehurst K-8 building will not have busing since it's an Option school, there will be a lot of congestion through our neighborhood. Pinehurst K-8 has 150 students and the majority take a bus. I wonder if the City of Seattle in the permitting process would require yellow bus transportation for a new school that large. That's what I plan to push at public meetings regarding the new building.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Neither 7:30 nor 9:30 start times are ideal. 9:30 is a very late start, even for elementary which has a shorter day than middle or high school. Our child was on the last tier and would get off the bus around 4:30. A 9:30 start for middle or high school would mean a 4:00 release time. Some students would not get home until close to 5:00.

Wasn't it originally two tiers - 8:00 and 9:00? It worked.

old timer

Angela said...

I like the 2 tier option with starts at 8 and 9 am. Have an option for families to pay into an ORCA or privately run bus option to decrease crowding of private vehicles in the neighborhoods. This decreases SPS transportation costs and makes the start times more palatable for all.

TechyMom said...

If we have to choose between reasonable start times and less busing, I'll take reasonable start times. 3 tiers just doesn't work. No one should be required to be at school at 7:30 in the morning. Personally, I think 8:30 is still a little early, but understand that there are morning people in the world who feel the same way about 9:30-10:00.

I'm also perfectly happy to pay for bus service. Why is this option never on the table?

Anonymous said...

I too would have been most willing to pay for bus service for the last two years. It would have been so much less stressful. I think the district is reluctant to propose it because the people who do not want to pay for anything can be very vocal. Or perhaps they never thought of this option. We should let them know that we are willing. It's better than having 5,6 year olds waiting outside at 6:30 in the morning.

CCA

CCA

Chris S. said...

Lets hope they keep in mind cuts are coming to metro too
http://www.kingcounty.gov/exec/news/release/2013/April/01MetroTransitPotentialCuts.aspx

juicygoofy said...

Is it true that SPS pays for bus service to/from daycare, even when it's inside the reference area? If so, why?