Transportation Challenges are Sometimes a Good Thing

Transportation Challenges are Sometimes a Good Thing

 

Our school district is experiencing an area of growth in our Pre-K and primary grades which has given rise to an interesting challenge.  More and more of our youngest students are spending time enrolled in some portion of our Right Start program and then transitioning to local daycare for some portion of their day, either in the morning or the afternoon.  This is beginning to create both opportunity and confusion for our transportation department, with some students being eligible for transportation and some not, some having to pay a fee for transportation and some not.

 

Our concern…

 

School code does not allow for the reimbursement of the transportation of students who live within 1.5 miles of their attendance center, which is why some students are transported to our elementary but once they become 7th graders, they are no longer eligible.  In the 2016-17 School Year we had $202,539.71 in eligible reimbursement expenditures and the State reimbursed us $61,329.19.  What that really means is that our Transportation budget is really tight and we do not have room to add a non-reimbursable route that carries a cost of approximately $23,000.

 

The State does allow, within the school code (105 ILCS 5/29-3), a district to charge a reasonable fee for transportation within 1.5 miles.  This is what we have done for a few years now, but because of our current age bands, the level of confusion this year has been significant for all parties.

 

Our solution…

 

We began this conversation with the most important question that we always ask, “what is in the best interest of our students?”  We believe that providing the opportunity for students and parents to utilize district transportation when needed is in the best interest of our students, but we would ask that our parents within 1.5 miles use it as needed, if you have the ability to transport your student or if they can walk or ride a bike as they have in the past, please continue that practice.  We can’t add a specific route within 1.5 miles but we do have some room on a bus that can run through a series of geographic stops, assuming we have similar participation that currently exists.

 

  • If your child or daycare is on a regular route, where we currently stop, we will transport from those places without charge.
  • We will shuttle from the JHHS to the elementary and from the elementary to the JHHS without charge.
  • We will make stops at the following intersections and transport without charge.
    • Buck and North
    • Cedar and West
    • Buck and Green
    • Cherry and West
    • Center and Hemlock
    • Chestnut and Wayne
  • We will begin to run our routes with this intent on Monday, August 21.
  • If you have already made a payment, the district office will return that payment to you, if you have any questions please email the district office at morgank@leroyk12.org and we will make sure that your question gets to the appropriate person to provide you the necessary information.

 

To be completely transparent, we are seeking responsible and reasonable participation in this solution.  If you can get your child to school inside 1.5 miles, please do so.  We think this is a reasonable solution to the concerns that have been shared, but we can’t add an exclusive route for this purpose.  If it becomes clear that we simply do not have the capacity to do this, we will not provide transportation inside 1.5 miles for anyone who is not eligible.