SCCPSS changing school transportation plan for students attending choice programs

SCCPSS changing school transportation plan for students attending choice programs

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System is looking to change its transportation plan for students who attend specialty high schools.

Starting next year, high school students who ride a bus to school outside of their zone will have to participate in the district’s HUB Transportation Plan. Parents will have to drive their students to an assigned HUB spot to catch the school bus. The bus will then take the student to their specialty school, and then vice versa in the afternoons.

The district says the HUB spots will be various Savannah-Chatham Schools located throughout the county.

With this new plan not providing full bus service from the student's house to the school, WTOC asked if the district would be concerned that some students may no longer be able to attend a choice school.

"We're hopeful that our families will use this opportunity, with advanced noticed, when making their decisions on choice placements for next year to decide what's going to work best for their families for the upcoming school year," said Tammy Perkins, Transportation Director, SCCPSS.

The district will host a series of meetings for those wanting to learn more. The first meeting will be Wednesday night at West Chatham Middle School.

West Chatham Middle School will be one of 10 hubs where parents can drop off their kids next year. But if you think this new transportation change would only impact specialty program students, think again. School district officials say the new hub plan could alter start times at all schools.

“My daughter was at Beach this year because she is in the medical magnet. They are doing so many things, dressing in surgical gear. They have the clinic coming,” said SCCPSS parent Jonetta Gaddis.

The thought of having to get their children to the new HUB transportation system has many upset.

“How would you feel as parents if that was taken away because you can’t get your kid to school? It would be horrible. It would be a travesty.”

Other districts around the country and state have implemented the HUB system as a way to save money and get students to different schools out of their zones more efficiently. Here in Chatham County, that number could average about 2,300 students.

“The hub system is sort of a meet in the middle. We have talked to other school districts who do not provide transportation when students or parents elect to participate in a program that is outside of their zoned school,” said Perkins.

Perkins says parents at Wednesday night’s forum seemed to be most concerned about afternoon pickup.

“Safety is that other concern. What are these students going to do when they are there in the evenings or in the afternoons or early? It’s going to be dark sometimes when we are dropping them off,” said SCCPSS parent Brian Guthrie.

Perkins says that a school resource officer will be working an hour earlier and later at these HUB stops to keep students safe. SCCPSS says overtime has been factored into their plan. They’re still discussing how these routes will impact school start times.

“That is a possibility that we do change or make modifications to start times that would impact all students,” said Perkins.

There are more meetings, next Wednesday, Nov. 20, the district will host an open meeting at Beach High School. And next month on Dec. 4, they’ll host a meeting at Johnson High School. All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Implementation of this new plan will begin next school year.

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