SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) –
Nearly three out of four local high school students are missing out on a vital resource for their academic success– transportation.
Right now, Springfield Public School (SPS) students have to live 3.5 miles or more from their school to be eligible for a bus ride. That leaves nearly two-thirds of the district’s students to rely on parents or take a long walk to school, without access.
The District’s administration established a Transportation Expansion Workgroup comprised of parents, teachers and other community members who have analyzed data to figure out the best way to extend transportation resources for those students.
As a result, SPS plans to add another cycle of transportation, a third-tier, to the existing two-tier structure. It will include a 60-minute gap between tiers in order for drivers to finish students pick up/drop off in one tier and begin the next tier on time. The third-tier system will extend transportation eligibility for high school students, by reducing the 3.5-mile requirement to 1.5-miles. All the while limiting increased financial demand for the District.
The community feedback will play a vital role in developing the final recommendation, which will be presented to the administration in the spring.
“The board will be very much involved in deciding where we go from here, as we look ahead to the next school year because it will require a significant investment from the District,” explained Chief Communication Officer, Stephen Hall. “Anywhere from $850,000 to $1.2 million dollars in additional expenses.”
Hall explained that the transportation expansion will give the district the ability to serve more students with the existing fleet of buses that they already have. He said it’ll also ensure more students, including those enrolled in SPS magnet programs have bus services.
“By removing these barriers to transportation, we anticipate greater interest in and availability for those choice programs.”
Hall added that they believe this will ultimately boost attendance and drive academic outcome performance across the board.
The Third-tier transportation expansion won’t impact the school year calendar, but there will be adjustments to schools’ start and end times. While the District recognizes change to be tough, Hall said it’s essential to keep an eye on the bigger picture.
“The prize is breaking down barriers to transportation and making sure that more of our students who need it most have access to bus transportation to school, each and every day.”
Click here to take the Transportation Expansion Feedback Survey and review the proposed options. Your response is needed by 4:30 p.m. Thursday evening and should take about five minutes to complete.
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