Schools: District 205 revamps elementary school transportation plan
– Program could save $400,000
Online Staff Report
The Rockford Public Schools’ Operations Committee approved a new plan for busing students from school to daycare facilities starting with the 2011-2012 school year.
Similar to the middle and high school transportation plan already in place, the district will now bus students only within their new elementary zones. Students are now bused throughout the city as part of the school choice plan implemented several years ago. District 205 will go to a zoned system next year.
“With elementary zones, it no longer makes sense economically or logically to bus kids all over town,” said Transportation Director Gregg Wilson. “As an example, we currently have 18 buses taking kids to one daycare facility on the north side and the new plan will reduce the number of buses to just five.”
After former Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield announced a couple of months ago that the district would stop busing students to and from daycare facilities, Wilson said area daycare providers approached administrators, hoping to collaborate on the best way to improve efficiencies, save money and provide convenient daycare options for parents.
“Each zoned elementary school will have at least two approved daycare facilities to which buses will transport students. Some zones will have more. We tried to look at the school populations and the data to develop the best solution,” Wilson added.
Some students, Wilson said, will remain in their current schools next year rather than transferring to their zoned elementary schools. The will still be able to be bused to their home next year but not bused to daycare facilities outside the zone of the school they are attending.
Finances are driving the decision as the district will lose 49 percent of its state transportation funding for the next school year.
“We knew we had to do something to keep parents as happy as we could in providing daycare and busing options but also help make up that loss in state funding,” said Board President Harmon Mitchell. “We are appreciative that the local daycare facilities approached us to help work toward a solution.”
More information about the program is at the District 205 website and the front desk of the Administration Building, 201 S. Madison St.
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