|From the Superintendent's Desk: Student transportation changes for 2012-13|
|August 09, 2012 Don Hague|
Gering Public Schools is making some major changes to our student transportation program effective July 1, 2012. First and foremost, our student transportation will be provided through a contract with First Student, a company that provides student transportation services to a large number of school districts throughout the nation, including a number of districts in Nebraska.
Scottsbluff and Gering have joined together to form a consortium to work with this company beginning in July. First Student has hired drivers and staff and has provided training for the upcoming years. All of our yellow buses now belong to First Student.
We did keep our smaller vehicles for the 2012-13 school year and plan to review how we utilize them throughout the next year so we can approach the 2013-14 school year with an effective, as well as efficient, plan for the future.
The second big change will be in bus routes, pick up and drop off points. As I have shared earlier, we are going to make an effort to encourage more students to walk or ride bikes to school. We will be working with the City of Gering and First Student to develop the best possible drop off and pick up points in our district throughout this month and will be sharing this information with parents and students as we begin the school year.
One issue that has created transportation concerns over the past 18 months has been the construction of the Lincoln Elementary School. We will be opening the new building this fall and will not need to transport students to the Aurora building next year.
The State of Nebraska only provides funds for student transportation if a student lives 4.5 miles or more from their school building, therefore it will be assumed that parents will be responsible to transport their students to school.
We want to ensure our students have safe routes to school and will continue to work closely with the City to make sure there is a safe route available to students who walk or ride bikes to their school building. Due to railroad tracks and major roads that run through the district, we will provide some bus stops to allow safe passage for students who are located in areas that would require them to cross these busy intersections on their way to school.
It is also important to remember that if we bus your elementary student to school it is possible for them to attend any school in our district. Those students that walk or ride bikes to a school are given preference in attending that particular building.
This is going to be a change and, as with all changes, it is going to take some time to adjust.
Please be patient as we work through this transition and remember it ultimately is best for everyone to have professionals providing transportation services to our students. Again, routes and pick-up and drop off points will be shared at the beginning of school.
For more information concerning first student and student transportation information please visit www.geringschools.net.
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