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H-H to Amend its Non-Public School Bus Route Schedule

The district joined several neighboring districts in a transportation consortium, which parents said has led to hour-long commutes for their kids.

After led to "disastrous" results according to a parent, is taking steps to ensure shorter ride times and fewer delays for non-public school students.

Since school started last week, Bob Reichert, the district's director of business affairs, has been evaluating various routes to see which are causing lengthy delays and unnecessarily long rides. 

Any problematic routes that have not been resolved by the end of this week will be removed from the consortium and service will resume through Hatboro-Horsham’s own transportation department. These in-house routes will become fully operational by no later than Tuesday, the district said in a press release.

“During the remainder of the week and through the weekend, we will be working closely with each non-public school to effectively communicate the changes to parents. We will also be providing notification of these changes on our district Web site,” Reichert said. “It is important to note that bus runs that have not experienced any difficulty or issue will remain as part of the consortium as well as those routes that have been corrected this week. We encourage every parent and/or guardian to carefully review the routing information that will be provided to determine if your child’s bus route has been changed."

Reichert said nearly 600 district residents are bused to non-public schools. Of those, Reichert said "quite a few" were impacted by lenghty rides and delays. A handful of to voice concerns about longer-than-expected bus routes. A father said his son, who is in elementary school, had a three-hour roundtrip commute.

A mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said her son had a more than hour-long commute for what would normally be an eight-minute ride.

"It has been disastrous," she wrote in an e-mail  to Patch. "The children (are) arriving late to school, the bus routes are entirely too long and the drivers in some instances are not making all stops and are not familiar with the area."

The district, in the press release, apologized to parents who have been negatively impacted by the change and said officials are working tirelessly to correct the situation.

The consortium, which was formed between Hatboro-Horsham and the surrounding school districts of Lower Moreland, Upper Moreland, Upper Dublin, Wissahickon and North Penn, began as a way to save on transportation costs and make bus routes more effective in the transportation of students to non-public schools. Under school code, public school districts are required to provide busing for non-public school students.

Since busing non-public students to private or parochial schools that are outside of district boundaries can result in bus runs for very small numbers of students, or longer drive times, the districts used a consultant to help in developing a bus schedule to improve routes and make them more efficient.

Shortly before school began, Upper Moreland School District decided to pull out of the consortium, leaving little time to reorganize the bus runs and then test them out to determine if they were practical.

Because of delays and long rides, other districts, including , Reichert said. The consortium is in force, to varying degrees, and all of the school districts - with the exception of Upper Moreland - remain a part of it.

Busing changes can be viewed here.

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