2017-04-21 / Today's Top Stories

AASD school board approves proposed transportation changes

By Nathan Brown

Staff Writer

SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP — The proposed changes to the Athens Area School District’s transportation system were approved by the district’s Board of Education during Tuesday’s meeting.

On April 11, District Transportation Coordinator Bethanne Chernosky presented a six-step plan to increase the safety of the students as well as reduce the transportation costs of the district.

The largest change that will be implemented for the 2017-2018 school year is the discontinuation of 18 of the district’s 25 passenger vans. The majority of the district’s vans will now be replaced with type-A buses.

A few passenger vans will continue to be used within the district as there are certain situations that call for one to be used.

S.R.U. Elementary School will now begin its school day at 7:45 a.m., as opposed to the current 8 a.m. start that is currently in place. The school day for S.R.U. Elementary students will now be set at 2:45 p.m.

Chernosky stated that the change is due to students arriving to school 30 minutes prior to the school day beginning.

One of the current Ridgebury routes will also be discontinued. Those students who were picked up on the discontinued route will be split between the other two Ridgebury based routes.

Bus 101 will now serve as a non-public route and the students who currently ride the route will be split between buses 116 and 77, according to Chernosky.

Athens Township’s route three will be eliminated and those students will be picked up by two other buses who average “medium” ridership, stated Chernosky.

Chernosky related that the proposed changes stem from multiple discussions of the Finance and Operations Committee of the School Board.

Superintendent Craig Stage related that the district’s loaded miles are currently 800,000 — twice that of comparable sized districts..

Chernosky related that the passenger vans make up a majority of the district’s miles. With the approved changes and cuts, the loaded miles count will be lowered, saving the district money.

District Business Manager Laura Perry related during her proposed final budget presentation at the April 18 meeting that the changes have allowed for the district to budget less for transportation.

Nathan Brown can be reached at (570) 265-2151 ext. 1639 or email: nbrown@thedailyreview.com.

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