Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Joint Committee meeting on transportation part II (local now)

WPS administration:
Allen: One thing to keep in mind is our current contracts are up at the end of this current school year
bid out sometime in December, contracts back by January/February

"that will really drive our timing"
reminder that we're talking about this due to transportation not being under Net School Spending
11,000 students per day; 10,000 miles a day
1200 total daily routes using 187 buses
use an eight tier system (not only WPS, but Seven Hills and eight private schools, per state law; AKF arranges transportation, which is paid for by WPS)
Worcester Tech uses 22 morning routes, which are running 75 to 100% capacity
Forest Grove uses 16 morning routes, high capacity
citywide programs are lower ridership; "in order to get them to school on time" limited number of kids on which bus
also, some schools have a limited number of students eligible for transportation and thus cannot fill a bus (but need to be transported)
WPS operated special education buses; half day preschool; shuttle for midday for transition students; midday shuttles for internships; use WRTA when possible and when feasible; out of district required transportation, as well
"for secondary it is a hard and fast limit; for elementary, safety is figured in on walking"
retrospective back to 2009 for regular ed and special ed transportation (I'll see if I can get these)
increasing need for transportation by Worcester Tech (1000 students to 1600 students); WEMS expanding to sixth grade added a bus
regular education has seen a significant increase in number of students on buses; greatest rise has been in special education students requiring transportation
have been spending more on special education than regular education transportation since 2009
SBC was to look at saving areas; now need to think programmatically
programs and parental choice drives transportation; not going to let transportation determine programs and parental choice
suggestion for an additional person would need to generate at least that much savings
and I already did this, but we would lose significant programmatic choice by eliminating 7-12 transportation
7-12 is 54%% of ridership; getting 18% of savings by eliminating it doesn't seem to work out
WPS admin will not recommend a 7-12 transportation change
comparison with Great City Schools doesn't work
citywide programs make for more expense
looking at the change from a single daily rate for a bus to a variable rate for a bus
disaggregate by length of time used
MORE TO COME ON THIS (Springfield just bid their contract this way)
doing this does not allow for mid-year flexibility; limits options;additional daily cost for Elm Park drop off center)
stops primarily based on safety and density now
bell time schedules needs to balance all locations
covering a citywide program "when you're dealing, not with assets, but with children" need to be thoughtful about how long kids are on buses
"some of (the suggestions) aren't as realistic as some might believe"
Economou: specifc stops merging stops
thinks opt out should be looked at
not in favor of eliminating 7-12
is the software program you're using sufficient or do you have the capacity to handle it?
in special ed, what constitutes someone having transporation? Hennessey explains that it's decided in a team meeting
Foley: balancing the buses with the amount of time on the bus
Novick: request that Councilors look at use of WRTA (when routes change or are dropped, it affects our students)
caution about not crossing lines of authority: School Committee cannot get into day-to-day management, Councilors do not vote bus contract. Let's be careful.

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