The closing of Wayne and Lincoln Way elementary schools and the realignment of sixth graders to Edgewood Middle School and eighth graders to Wooster High School is necessitating some major changes in the district’s transportation system.
According to district transportation supervisor Kurt Miller, the 2012-13 school year will usher in a three-tier routing system: one for eighth grade through high school, one for the middle school and one for the remaining elementary schools.
The change also means fewer children walking to school, while more are riding buses. “Approximately 90 students are passengers on our school buses that used to walk to and from Lincoln Way,” Miller said, “and 80 students from Wayne.”
In all, district buses will run three complete schedules: the bell schedule at Wooster High School will begin at 7:45 a.m., Edgewood at 8:15 a.m. and the elementary schools at 9:05 a.m. Current enrollment figures show 297 students – who in the past would have stayed in the elementary schools – will now be headed to Edgewood.
According to Miller, the revised bus schedules were an outgrowth of the redistricting, which makes for a busy summer of making sure every child has a place and time to board the bus. Throughout the summer, in fact up until the first day of school, Miller predicted there will be “a lot of last minute changes and tinkering … due to folks with babysitter changes (and) folks moving over the summer.”
District staff were surveyed at the end of the most recent school year to determine who actually is riding buses. A district-wide phone campaign already has been instituted, according to Miller, informing parents and guardians of the changes and directing them to either call the bus garage or to access the information on the district’s website: http://www.woostercityschools.org/district/content-page/transportation-busing-registration.
In any case, calls are welcome to the garage at 330-264-4060 to speak either with Miller or with transportation secretary Roberta Burr.
As information is received, Miller explained, it is put into a computer database so the district can make sure every student who plans to be on a certain route has a seat, while seeing to it the bus is not overcrowded.
Still, even with the third route running, Miller said no more personnel will need to be hired, although “there will be an additional cost increase of operations due to operating the third tier of busing and the additional miles.”
While few children will be walking, Miller said, it is still important to the district to establish the walking routes as well. By law, elementary students can walk up to a mile, middle schoolers and eighth graders two miles and high school students two and a half miles. Add to that students in extracurricular activities who may not always ride a bus, Miller said, and those who rely on parents for transportation.
It’s hardly an exact science, but the district will spend the summer “constantly adjusting and changing,” Miller said, to make sure every student gets to and from school safely and on time.
Published: June 20, 2012