The Warren County R-III School District discussed two matters relating to transportation in the new school year during its monthly meeting on Aug. 8.
With the implementation of a four-day school week, time in the classroom is longer, which means earlier morning bus pickup times. A few times, including as early as 6:05 a.m., were questioned by board member Rodger Tucker.
With the drop off time being 4:35 p.m., it results in a 10.5-hour day.
“That’s a long day for a young kid,” said Tucker.
Superintendent Dr. Gregg Klinginsmith said the bus route times haven’t changed considerably with the four-day week. School board members discussed the challenges with route times, identifying the geographic size of the district as a barrier to condensing the times.
The 2019-2020 bus routes and pickup times were approved with a 6-1 vote from the board, with Tucker voting no.
Members also explored options for updating the district’s fleet of 21 vehicles.
The school district is considering leasing from Enterprise to eliminate a current challenge, which is having to use district transportation staff to service the vehicles.
“In the long run it would be cheaper to buy than lease, but the downside is having the manpower to keep those cars in service,” said Klinginsmith.
Since buses take precedence over district fleet vehicles, this has resulted in fleet vehicles being out of service for a while in the past. Currently the district has two spares among its older fleet, which are used for a range of tasks, from transportation of homeless students to work trucks for projects at the district’s campuses.
The board also discussed giving local businesses the opportunity to provide a maintenance option on the vehicles, so the district could purchase instead of leasing while not having to maintain the vehicles in-house.
The topic was tabled until more details could be gathered concerning the options available in updating the fleet.