Perry Township Schools overhaul bus system for next school year

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Perry Township School Board of Education voted to transition from its current two-tiered bus system to a three-tiered system at the start of the 2017-18 school year. After months of research and planning, the district determined the three-tiered system will provide the following benefits:

  • Eliminates overcrowding on busses
  • Separates high school students from younger students
  • Ensures the most daylight for younger students
  • Shortens route duration
  • Cost-effective
  • Increases efficiencies

Eliminates overcrowding

The three-tiered bus system is the most practical approach to accommodating the growing enrollment which has surpassed 16,000 students. Currently, drivers bus 80+ students on many routes. Under the three-tiered system, approximately 56 students will be bussed at a time.

Separates high school and middle school

Currently, high school students and middle school students are bussed together. With a three-tiered bus system, routes for middle school students will begin after high school students are already in class.

Ensures greater daylight for younger students

Under the three-tiered system, high school students will start and end the day earlier, while younger students will begin later. This ensures the most daylight for elementary students who wait at bus stops. The earlier dismissal time for high school students will ensure that they still reach after-school jobs or other activities sooner.

Shortens route duration

Currently, students who have the longest routes ride the bus for approximately one hour. Under the three-tiered system, the longest routes will be reduced to an estimated 45-50 minutes.

Cost-effective

The three-tiered system will save $700,000 because it will require fewer routes, which will reduce costs associated with drivers’ salaries, fuel, buses, and operational costs. It will reduce the number of bus routes from 122 to 94. To continue the two-tiered system, the district would have to spend an additional $1.7 million in new money which would be detrimental to the $623,463 transportation budget deficit.

Increases efficiencies

The three-tiered system will provide a centralized approach to transporting students to kindergarten academies and Choice programs, and it will allow the district to utilize fewer buses. Under the two-tiered system, the district would have to discontinue Choice and students would be required to attend their “home” school as determined by boundary lines.

“As we weighed the costs and benefits of adopting the three tiered-system, we definitely recognized several other factors that are important to students, staff and families,” said Acting Superintendent Pat Mapes. “We considered field trip coordination, athletics’ schedules, before- and after-school care, length of school days, and student performance because most of these issues affect our entire school community.”

Ultimately, the district approved the following tiers, with staggered start and dismissal times, to best accommodate the growing student body:

The new school times for the 2017 – 2018 Perry Township Schools will be as follows:

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