In light of Highland Middle School’s impending closure, the Huron Valley School District has revised its transportation schedule for the 2011-12 academic year.
Redistricting has prompted many parents to inquire about busing and which tier — start and end times — will impact their respective schools and students.
Given that the district covers 107 square miles and transports over 6,000 students daily, the most economical method of busing is to route students on three tiers, or time periods, instead of adding more buses and drivers to convey students. The district currently transports students in three tiers to maximize efficiency and plans to continue the practice next year. However, times and routes will change.
For the 2011-12 school year, the new tiers will be:
• Tier 1 — both traditional high schools; start time between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. with an end time between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.;
• Tier 2 — all three middle schools and Head Start/Apollo (separate bus route); start time between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. with an end time between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.; and
• Tier 3 — all nine elementary schools; start time between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. with an end time between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
“Aligning our building start times provides a number of benefits to our families and our staff,” said Huron Valley Schools Superintendent Jackie Johnston. “For example, at the high school level, we can offer distance learning between our high schools as they will have the same start time next year. In addition, staff professional development can be coordinated by level as the buildings will be on the same time frames. Lastly, we will see savings in transportation costs given the efficiencies of the new routing.”
The start and end times for each transportation tier will be finalized later this spring after open enrollment ends and the transportation team reviews the routing prepared by the Oakland Intermediate School District. It will then be shared with staff and families.
A firm estimate on cost savings will be quantified once the routing is finalized, according to Huron Valley Director of Community Relations and Fund Development Janet Roberts.
Operational benefits of the revised transportation tier schedule include a reduction in the number of routes due to greater efficiencies, while maintaining average route times at approximately 35 minutes and capping maximum route times at approximately 60 minutes.
Reducing routes translates into additional savings for the district.