Alexander County Schools have announced this month consolidated elementary and middle school bus routes. The consolidation will save the school system up to an estimated $240,000 by parking seven yellow buses.
Advantages to the consolidation are reduced ride times for many students, increased state efficiency rates, less travel for 30-day inspections and refueling, and better compliance on special routes.
The change will increase deadhead time (travel time without students), elementary early dismissal days will require double runs, and the coordination of yellow school bus use for field trips.
Listed below are new start times at the elementary and middle schools.
• Begin at 8:15 a.m. Doors will be open at 7:45 a.m.
• Dismiss at 3:25 p.m.
• Begin at 7:40 a.m.
• Dismiss at 3:00 p.m.
The first day of school for the 2019-2020 school year is Monday, August 26, 2019.
Answers given to school bus consolidation questions
Alexander County Schools administrators released the following answers to recently posed questions regarding the upcoming school bus consolidation plans, according to Renee Meade, Public Information Officer:
• Elementary and Middle School bus routes will be combined. Each bus route will consist of approximately 70 percent elementary students and 30 percent middle school students.
• High School routes will remain the same.
• Bus monitors will be used to assist drivers for the new routes.
• All buses will have working cameras for morning and afternoon routes.
• Average ride-times will be similar to previous ride-times. Students will not be picked up before 6 a.m. or dropped off after 5 p.m.
• Bus locations will be designated by eastern and western routes and will be accessible in those areas during the school day.
• Siblings on the same routes will be picked up and dropped off together eliminating concerns of younger children being at home alone before older students arrive. Parents with younger children without siblings, will need to ensure that someone is at the drop off location daily.
• All students will have assigned seating. Siblings may or may not be seated together as determined by the bus driver and/or monitor.
• New routes will allow for consistency in bus drivers and substitute bus drivers. This will help with the bus driver shortage that we have experienced over the last few years.
• The bus consolidation cost savings will help reduce the amount of fund balance needed to balance the school system’s budget.