June 1, 2019
As we are concluding the school year, the LSR7 School District is sharing some information with families regarding the District’s Walk Zone Audit conducted this year and the secondary bus route changes that will go into effect next year. This audit and the route research was conducted in conjunction with the Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan (CFMP) process.
During the audit process, the district reviewed student transportation operations as they relate to Board of Education policies. One of the policies in the review was Board Policy EEA, which says:
“Resident students living one-half mile or more from student attendance areas will be entitled to free transportation to and from school.”
With this, they will be identifying residences that are within the Board-approved walk zones and will be communicating with those families that are newly impacted by the walk zone policy; current walkers will not be contacted. They simply want to ensure they are consistent with this policy and have individual communication with impacted families. This communication will begin the first part of June.
Secondary Bus Route Changes
Additionally, in collaboration with the transportation department, the district has been closely monitoring secondary (middle school and high school) bus ride times throughout the course of the last several years. The bus ride times have been increasing due to the growth in our school district. During the 2018-2019 school year, secondary ride times have averaged over 50 minutes one-way, with some rides being an hour or more.
Realizing this impact of long ride times, the district set a goal to reduce ride times.
Through the work of the Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan (CFMP) process, they engaged the community around not only the school boundaries and future-ready learning spaces, but also garnered feedback about the secondary bus routes. The community survey showed a majority of the community supported streamlining secondary school bus routes in order to decrease ride time to benefit students. During this feedback period, the district also reviewed the Code of State Regulations and Board of Education policies.
By making some changes and adjustments to how the secondary buses are routed and bus stops placed, the district will be able to shorten student ride time on average of 20 minutes each way or 40 minutes a day for those students who ride to and from school. This means students will get to sleep later and get home sooner, which is especially impactful to the students (especially those who get on first in the morning and off last in the afternoon).
To accomplish this goal of shorter rides times, the district will need to shorten the travel path and number of times the buses stop. They will follow the recommendations outlined in the Code of State Regulations for school bus routing and bus stop placement:
School Bus Routing:
Follow the most direct path
Duplication of miles
Dead-Ends and Cul-de-sacs
Bus Stop Placement:
Stops will be placed 1,200 feet apart
The average walk to a school bus stop is currently five-hundredths (.05) of a mile, or 264 feet. For 2019-2020, the average will be fifteen hundredths (.15) of a mile, or 792 feet.
They hope these adjustments reflect the ‘gift of time’ for our secondary students.
Through this decision-making process, it was important to listen to the community and offer reasonable adjustments that benefit the students. The transportation team will be dedicating time this summer to work through specific adjustments with our families.
If you have any questions call the Transportation Office at (816) 986-4BUS (4287).