School Bus Routes May Get Scaled Back in Hatboro-Horsham
In an attempt to diminish a budget shortfall, the Hatboro-Horsham School District may reduce some of its existing school bus routes.
As the Hatboro-Horsham School District stares down a deficit in its nearly $90 million 2013-14 spending plan, officials are working to ensure every bus ride and every route count.
To help close the shortfall, the district is considering scaling back the existing 4:15 p.m. pickup at Keith Valley Middle School from five days to once a week, according to Director of Business Affairs Bob Reichert. That alone would save the district $25,000 a year, Reichert told the board during Monday night's work session.
And since the roughly 45 kids on the buses at those times are either coming from a club or detention, Reichert said the school could schedule everything for one day.
"We could still make it all work with the other available buses," Reichert said. "Doing it in one day wouldn’t overload the buses."
Reichert said the district is also considering eliminating one bus route and one in-house bus driver, which he said would save $38,511 in costs. In addition, he said one less bus driver would mean the district would only need to replace one of its school buses instead of two.
However, with one fewer driver, Reichert said the ride times for seven to 10 bus routes would adjusted by seven to 10 minutes on average.
"It's not a huge difference, but it's going to be a difference," he said. "That will cause some angst."
On average, in-house bus rides are about 20 minutes, according to Reichert.
In the past, parents have come out in droves to confront the board about what they deemed to be longer-than-necessary bus rides. Some of their frustration stemmed from an ill-fated transportation consortium that Hatboro-Horsham joined during the 2011-2012 school year along with several other neighboring districts. The intent was to save money busing non-public school students out of the district. The reality was ride times of an hour or more, according to parents.
Even though Reichert acknowledged that changing bus rides and routes could again upset parents, he said it's something the board should consider.
"We woudn’t be furloughing anybody," Reichert said of the suggested one less driver. "There’s always attrition at the end of the year with drivers."
The board took no action on Monday. Reichert said officials would again discuss the bus proposal, as well as the possibility of a student activity fee and the possibility of swapping two contracted high school counselors with in-house staff in April.