An Update on Potential Busing Changes for 2019-20.

An Update on Potential Busing Changes for 2019-20.

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Photo of a Polk County Public Schools bus.

At Polk County Public Schools, our transportation staff conduct annual reviews to see whether any bus services not required under the law should be eliminated to improve efficiency and save money. This process helps us to maximize our resources in response to persistent shortages of funding and bus drivers.

We recently shared two options that are being discussed for the 2019-20 school year: No longer providing bus services for charter school students; and eliminating “courtesy busing” for some students who would not otherwise be eligible for transportation service — typically, these are students whose homes fall within two miles of their assigned school and have a pedestrian route that is free of hazards as defined by Florida statutes.

(Please see this link for our previous update with more background information.)

After discussing these issues with School Board members during today’s work session, Polk County Public Schools will move forward with plans to discontinue bus service for charter school students.

The majority of charter schools already provide bus service to their students. However, PCPS currently provides transportation service for about 350 students who attend 12 charter school sites.

Surplus buses in the PCPS fleet will be offered to these charter schools, and they will be responsible for hiring bus drivers and attendants.

PCPS is still researching the elimination of “courtesy busing” for some students. We are reviewing each case on an individual basis and working to see if other alternatives or solutions are available.

Ultimately, we intend to choose options that ensure student safety while making the best use of your tax dollars, and our bus drivers and attendants. We appreciate your understanding and will provide more updates as discussions continue.

Thank you.