Changes Being Considered for Charter School and Courtesy Busing Services in 2019-20

Changes Being Considered for Charter School and Courtesy Busing Services in 2019-20

Photo of a Polk County Public Schools bus.

Each year, Polk County Public Schools transportation staff review whether any services not required under the law should be eliminated to improve efficiency and save money.

Some transportation options were discussed during yesterday’s work session. You can view the discussion (1:25:50 — 2:10:00) by clicking this link.

There is a shortage of bus drivers nationwide. Over the years, available funding to provide transportation services has also decreased substantially.

Transportation staff identified some options for reducing the number of routes bus drivers must cover. Reducing bus routes will help make the best use of available drivers and help them transport students more efficiently so they don’t miss important instruction time. This will also decrease the number of students on buses, which can help reduce disciplinary issues.

One option being discussed is to no longer provide bus services to charter school students.

The majority of charter schools 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 would be offered to the charter schools, who would then be responsible for hiring bus drivers and attendants.

Another option being discussed is 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 defined by Florida statutes.

Transportation staff identified 1,192 students whose courtesy busing could be eliminated.

IMPORTANT: All current transportation services will continue for the rest of the 2018-2019 school year. Transportation staff outlined potential services that could be eliminated for the 2019-2020 school year because they are not required by law. District staff is conducting further research before any changes are made. If any changes are made for the 2019-2020 school year, affected parents will be notified of any changes in advance. We will also be in communication with any charter schools whose services are changed.