Tri States Public Radio Staff
Thu March 8, 2012
Bus Ride Times Might Sway Voters
Parents of school-age children will take a long look at the potential for long bus rides as they decide whether three school districts will consolidate.
Avon, Abingdon and Bushnell-Prairie City would form a new district if voters approve the measure March 20th.
Dan Mahr is vice-chair for the transportation subcommittee of the Committee of 10. He said the goal of the bus routes is to minimize the number of students with long rides.
Some students in the three districts currently face 90 minute bus rides.
He said, “We have a handful of students that are on the bus for the maximum time today. Unfortunately, some of the same students would be on the bus for the long period of time. It's geographically where the students live-makes it very difficult to get them into the districts.”
Mahr said the routes would run primarily east and west of Highway 41. Children would be bused into Avon, Abingdon and Bushnell. Grade-school children would be bused directly to their schools. Some junior and senior high school students would then transfer to 84-passenger buses for the ride to their schools. .
He said the proposed routes will save time and trouble for most kids.
A member of the Just Vote No committee that opposes consolidation said the subcommittee came us with some good ideas.
Duane White thinks they look better on paper than they will in practice.
He said, “I'm not convinced that you're always going to have that bus meeting there if you're on the highway. It's going to put a lot of pressure on them buses to be there at the right times and to pick up and go to the next one.”.
White worries the new district would eventually follow the lead of many other consolidated districts. They reduced the number of bus routes to save money in the face of state budget cuts. He said that could result in rides up to 15 minutes longer for some students.