Savannah-Chatham school board reconsiders consolidated busing

Savannah-Chatham school board reconsiders consolidated busing

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Public school officials in Chatham County are now reconsidering consolidating bus stops for charter and specialty school students.

Their initial proposal would have ended door-to-door busing for those students, but that plan did not sit well with most parents.

On Monday, school officials called a meeting to announce a new transportation proposal.

We did some digging to find out how this "Plan B" will be different.

For one, buses would still pick up specialty and charter students from their neighborhoods under the new plan, which is something a lot of parents wanted. However, just like "Plan A." this new proposal has pros and cons, too.

"The downside of the Plan B is students are going to be on the bus for a longer time period," said Julie Wade, SCCPSS Board Member, District 1.

With this plan, one bus would pick up students who go to different schools, but who live in the same area. That bus would then make stops at several schools to complete the route.

"So, this would be a scenario where the students would not have to change at one school, they would just get off at their respective schools once the bus arrives there," said Tammy Perkins, Exec. Director of Support Services, SCCPSS.

This pairing strategy is something that the district already does on a small-scale with some middle and high schools.

"So, what we looked at is actually replicating that process district-wide; looking at all of our schools across the county; looking for opportunities where we can actually pair schools together in geographic regions or zones," said Perkins.

On the negative side, some students could be sitting on a bus for an hour-and-a-half. But, this new plan would save more money. The original consolidation proposal would have cut costs by $1.8 million. They estimate the new plan will save $1.9 million."

"In my mind, if we can save $1.8 or $1.9 million on buses and re-direct that to academic affairs, that should be a no-brainer for our district," Wade said.

Monday night, many parents said they at least like this new proposal much better than the original.

Erin Foose, parent of specialty school students said, "It's better for people that can't transport their students to a hub - that was my main concern. I don't like the idea of students having to be on the buses longer, potentially, but I think it's a better option."

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