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 have explored two options 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.
Polk County Public Schools is moving 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:
Achievement Academy (three sites)
Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School
Cypress Junction Montessori
Compass Middle School (partial)
Magnolia Montessori Academy
Lakeland Montessori Middle
Lakeland Montessori Schoolhouse
Polk State College Collegiate High School
Polk State College Gateway High School
Victory Ridge Academy
Surplus buses in the PCPS fleet will be offered to these charter schools, and they will be responsible for hiring bus drivers and attendants.
In addition, we are 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.
As discussions continue, we have created the following FAQ sheets to provide additional info about PCPS’ transportation operations, as well as details regarding courtesy busing service, and charter school busing: