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District News

Seattle Public Schools proposes to streamline transportation

Jan. 9, 2014 | Audience: Families, Community, Staff | Contact: Communications |  (206) 252-0200

In an effort to save money and preserve funding that directly affects our classrooms, the District was tasked by the School Board with cutting the transportation budget.

The District is proposing several cost-saving measures, which will be voted on by the School Board on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

The District is proposing to:

• End yellow bus transportation to option school students who live outside that school’s middle school attendance area
• Eliminate transportation to elementary school students who live outside that school’s attendance area
• Sunset any previous “grandfathering” of transportation that was allowed when the New Student Assignment Plan took effect in 2010-11.
• Standardize all yellow bus arrival times: 7:35 a.m., 8:25 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. Please note these are not start times for schools, but the arrival times for buses. Next fall’s school bell times will be set later this winter.

If approved, these measures will save the District more than $3.4 million next year, helping preserve money for our teachers and classrooms.

Families should be on the lookout for more information in the next few weeks.

• If your student’s transportation eligibility will change for next year, you will get an individualized letter with that information.

• Every student will receive a letter prior to Open Enrollment with specific information on next year’s assignment, as well as on Open Enrollment, in case you want to apply for a different school.

Open Enrollment is February 24 -March 7 and families have the option to request assignment to a different school, and a guarantee to enroll in their designated attendance area school, if desired. Enrollment information can be found at www.seattleschools.org/enrollment, by visiting the John Stanford Center or calling 206-252-0760.

Many members of the public have asked the District about “flipping” bell times. Since SPS has a three-tiered yellow bus transportation system, this would mean transportation arrival times for our elementary schools would start at 7:35 a.m. and transportation service to our high schools at 9:15 a.m.
 
In order to consider flipping bell times, the District would need to conduct significant research and community engagement on the topic, including looking at cost, safety, before- and after-school programs, athletics and changes in our agreements with labor partners.

During the School Board’s March retreat with senior District leadership, Board members will discuss their governance priorities and when staff might pursue this work.

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