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(West Plains) – Even though the 2012-2013 West Plains School year has come to an end, the West Plains school board is still hard at work for their district.

During the Tuesday June 18 school board meeting, board members voted and approved to begin a double route busing schedule for its in-town routes beginning this fall. This change will allow the district to consolidate six of its current routes with a projected first year saving of over $200,000 in operation costs.

This new system will result in a decrease of six driver salaries and benefits, totaling approximately $76,000, as well as six less buses in operation adding on $10,000-$25,000 worth of savings. At the end of last school year six drivers retired, which means this system will not mean the loss of any jobs. To comply with this system the district has agreed to not hire any new drivers for the upcoming school year.

This change is being made after the Transpar Group recommended the district to consider double-routing the busing system as the primary means to reduce transportation costs to the district. The TransPar Group, a pupil transportation consulting company, conducted an in-depth study of the district’s cost to transport students. The company looked over the last two years of data from the district transportation department to evaluate the different aspects the district currently runs transportation, and evaluated how the district is performing in accordance DESE’s transportation standards as well.

The alterations in the routing will also mean a change of the start time for West Plains Elementary. They will be moved from an 8:10 AM start time to 7:45 AM start time. In an attempt to solicit input from parents, administrators recently surveyed large group of parents whose children attend West Plains Elementary. They discovered that 75% of the parents polled indicated that they were supportive or indifferent to the earlier start time.

The double-route bus system will be initiated for the 2013-2014 school year. Parents and guardians who may have questions regarding the double-route busing system should contact Dr. Scott Smith or Bob Pekarek at 417-256-6155.


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