Grove – Door to door bus service for area students is a thing of the past as Grove schools implement community bus stops in an effort to save money.
Students living within a mile and a half of the schools will now be picked up and dropped off at community bus stops.
According to Lynn Sears, Transportation Director for Grove schools, seven stops have been added throughout the community. With the concern of leaving children alone at these stops, Sears says they tried to choose locations that are away from traffic areas.
“Another option, for example, if you live close to say the high school, but your child attends the middle school, buses will transport children from one school to another.” said Sears.
Sears also noted that this is not something new, as they already have community stops for children living in rural areas. Kids living rurally walk up to half a mile to a bus stop.
Changes to the district bus service have been made due to lack of funding. This has been seen recently when the district did not re-hire 22 teachers.
“The district isn’t funded for students living within a mile and a half of the schools, but we have done it as a courtesy to accommodate everyone.” noted Sears
By altering bus services it will save the district $85,000 a year, freeing up funds for other areas such as payroll.
Another change this year includes bus service to private daycares throughout the community. District heads have met several times throughout the summer to work out a plan to accommodate children who attend daycare facilities.
Sears said a bus from a local Vo-tech was to be used for all of the childcare facilities. Every facility would have to agree to utilize it, but in the end it was not financially possible.
“We are hoping to finalize plans to have the facilities reimburse the district for the use of the bus.” said Sears.
Financial reimbursement would include the use of a driver, fuel at three cents a mile and wear and tear. Currently, there are 160 students who attend daycare facilities. Due to the bus holding only 70 children, a minimum of two routes would have to be made, the second at around 4 p.m.
The new community bus stops will be located at Bible Baptist Church by Grove High School; the Senior Center parking lot behind the building; Church on Sunday located on Har-Ber road; Mill Creek Apartments on Shundi Road; the Sports Complex behind the pool and the north end of the parking lot at Cornerstone Church.