Impact on Transportation from Detroit, Kansas City School Closings Remain Unknown

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In an effort to cut costs, Detroit Public Schools and the Kansas City School District both announced they will close 45 and 28 schools, respectively.

The cuts come as many school sites are preparing for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which for most districts begin on July 1. Reactions have been swift, with some calling the cuts “devastating.”

“How did it get to be this bad?” asked a Kansas City parent in an interview with the New York Times. “What were they doing for years and years so that something like this happens just like overnight?”

Amid all the confusion, many are asking: What about transportation? In Kansas City, the Board of Education approved its initial plan on March 10 and is currently working toward accurately projecting the full impact on transportation, according to district spokesperson Eileen Houston-Stewart.

“Transportation is a puzzle, and depending on how we put the pieces together will determine the effect the consolidations will have on busing,” Houston-Stewart wrote in an e-mail to STN. “Our goal is to minimize transportation expense through increased time/capacity utilization and better balance among the bell times as a result of ‘Right- Sizing’ the Kansas City, Mo., School District.”

At this writing, STN was unable to reach Detroit Public Schools for comment. According to the district’s Web site, transportation is currently provided for:

  • Special education students based upon their Individualized Education Plan.
  • Vocational education students between their high school and respective vocational technical educational center.
  • Regular education students in grades K-8 that live more than ¾ of a mile from their neighborhood school qualify for corner stop service.
  • All K-8 students for the 2007-2008 school year only who were assigned to a new school due to their school being closed due to the realignment process will be eligible for corner stop transportation.
  • Regular education students in grades 9-12 are provided bus passes but, must meet the following criteria in order to qualify for a free or reduced bus pass: student must attend their neighborhood school, student must receive meal free or reduce benefits, student must be attending neighborhood school which is more than 1½ miles from residence.