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S. Huntington Students Face Bus Schedule Changes

As budget discussions continue, transportation costs are under scrutiny.

South Huntington students could face a significant rescheduling of class times as the result of transportation changes brought on by budget cuts.

Superintendent Thomas Shea outlined several options Wednesday night to curb transportation costs, including changes that would reduce the simultaneous need for vehicles because scheduling would be spread out over more hours.

Under one plan, and Silas Wood students might arrive as early as 6:55 a.m. and leave at 1:50 p.m., while under the same plan, Birchwood and Maplewood students would arrive at 9:40 a.m. and leave at 4:10 p.m.

Currently, the earliest arrivals occur at 7:25 a.m., at , and the last departure is at 3:35 p.m. from Birchwood and Maplewood.

Shea said a lack of competitive bidding is forcing prices higher. "As the monopoly increases, he prices increase," he said. At the same time, he defended the district practice of owning about half the necessary fleet, saying ownership helped contain costs. At least one member of the audience disputed him and insisted that contracting out busing would reduce costs.

Shea and the South Huntington school board are reviewing and presenting ideas on the 2012-13 budget in a series of weekly workshops as the process heads for adoption April 4 by the board and a public vote on May 15.

While Wednesday's meeting focused on transportation, it is only one of several areas under discussion for cuts. Shea listed other possible reductions in clerical staff, building and grounds, teaching, paraprofessional and administrative and chairman positions.

Programs, instruction and staffing will be addressed at the March 21 and March 28 workshops.

The cuts are driven in part by new state limits on raising the tax levy, which is the funding a district needs to raise through property taxes to balance its budget.

"We're not so naive that we think this isn't going to hurt the district and hurt the kids," Shea said.

The district transports 6,578 students daily, including 5,977 to seven district buildings, 520 to 36 private or parochial schools and 81 to special needs schools.

Current Transportation Schedule

building/buses arrival class departure Whitman (44) 7:25am 
7:30-2:15  
2:20pm Stimson/Silas Wood (38) 8:00 8:05-2:55 3:00 Oakwood/Countrywood 8:10 8:20-2:35 2:40 Birchwood/Maplewood 9:05 9:15-3:30 3:35

 

Transportation Revision, Option A

building/buses arrival class departure Birchwood/Maplewood (41)        
7:10 am 
7:20-1:35 
1:50 pm Oakwood/Countrywood (37)
7:50 8-2:15 2:25 Whitman (44)
8:30 8:35-3:20   
3:25 Stimson/Silas Wood (38)
9:15 9:20-4:05 4:10

 

Transportation Revision, Plan B

building/buses arrival class departure Stimson/Silas Wood (38) 6:55am 7-1:45 1:50pm Oakwood/Countrywood (37) 8:00 8:10-2:25 2:35 Whitman (44) 8:35 8:40-3:25 3:30 Birchwood/Maplewood (41) 9:40 9:50-4:05 4:10
gs March 23, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Obviously this has nothing to do with the actual students' well beings. Not only is the darkness a concern. But numerous studies have concluded that teenagers should NOT be going to school at 7am. Their bodies are simply growing and changing to much to allow for consistent and successful testing and learning at that time. If anything, the K-5 should be going in earlier- as it is proven that their scores were not adversely affected by the earlier start time. But the schools don't care about the kids. Only about protecting raises, salaries, benefits and the like.
joey March 24, 2012 at 04:37 AM
I dont believe any students need to be in school at 7am. I read a study from healthy living magazine that showed the younger the child more sleep was required for better school results. This time change is about buses not the best learning environment of the student.
Chris March 28, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Does anyone really think that HS students are going to use that extra time for sleep? Seriously? They'll stay up later since they can sleep later, the amount will stay the same. Young kids shouldn't be going to school in the dark or coming home in the dark, they're still kids! As far as the bus situation is concerned, all of the info coming from Huntington Coach is from their PR person. If the district sells the buses and fires the bus drivers we will then be beholden to Huntington Coach. How long do you think the lower costs will last? Plus there is the issue of tax on fuel. The district does not pay tax on gas, we most certainly will if we go with Huntington Coach. And let's not forget about who is driving the buses. How much of a background check do you think Huntington Coach will do? What kind of control will the district have over the drivers? More than 1/2 of our current bus drivers will not be driving our kids anymore because Huntington Coach has a no re-hire policy. So with 60+ kids per bus, who is going to be driving them if the experienced ones we have can't? The district obviously felt that this was the way to go when they built the bus depot. To cut and run now seems stupid. PLus, did anyone else notice the $1million+ in unemployment costs listed? Would we fire the drivers then pay all of that in unemployment? What are we saving then?
joey March 28, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Chris you have some valid points but I read the 2003 bond where we spent 2.5 million on the bus depot and 2.5 million on expanding our fleet to buy 35 new buses and bring all the transportation in-house to a savings of 5 million over 15 years. The purpose of that bond was to solve this problem and here we are 10 years later and we are still outsourcing buses, have the same amount in out fleet since 2003 and need to save money by reducing the cheaper bus solution by 17 and have young kids get up in the morning. What was the purpose of the 2003 Bond if we didn't solve the problem and was all the money spent or on what other projects?
joey March 28, 2012 at 06:40 PM
As a side note I know Manhasset outsourced 100% of their buses privately...I think it would be in the best interest of the school if they compared notes. This concept is not a new one.

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