Transportation

We know transportation to and from school is critical to many families. By statute, the new schools will be required to ensure that transportation is not a barrier to any child's education.

Our plan includes buses and we have built a budget that accounts for the current students being transported. Our budget team looked at contract bus providers, a common practice. We've read through current contracts between schools and providers, contacted several, studied the routes to the best of our ability and estimated the costs to ensure all children who need transportation can get to school. The current rate is between $375-$425 per bus, per day used. All drivers who work for these companies are background and safety checked.

Though this option was chosen to study feasibility of the plan, it is not the ONLY option for our schools, should they convert. Our commitment to transport students will not change and we believe our community is also capable of innovative solutions which maintain this commitment while doing so more efficiently. Because of the charter status of these schools, those innovations could include such things as staggered start times, use of more efficient sized vehicles for certain routes and even use of family-and-neighborhood based stipends - all of which can be done safely, legally and in collaboration with parent input.

Transportation is expensive. Currently, schools receive just $560 per student transported while costs per student transported can be as much as $1,000 per student or more. We have accounted for that.

Currently, all bus services are provided by Alachua County Public Schools. They have had a major driver shortage and therefore, if the new schools opt to contract for bus services, while it will be up to ACPS to determine the future of their drivers, logic would seem to indicate they will need to retain all their drivers.

We have done the research and we know we can provide the same level and better transportation to all students who need it because the parents behind this initiative have made transportation a top priority.

Specific buses, routes and times will be decided by the new school leadership in order to best meet the needs of the students and families. Charter schools are entitled to their proportionate share of transportation funds for eligible students. The charter school and the school district are required to cooperate in making arrangements so that transportation is not a barrier to equal access for all students residing within a reasonable distance of the charter school. ( fldoe.org)

Yes Newberry