With the first day of classes for the 2012-13 school year set for Tues., Sept. 4, the Boardman Local Schools will transport some 3500 students to seven schools within the district; as well as to some 14 additional schools (parochial and charter) that students residing in Boardman attend.
The Boardman Local School District operates on an annual budge of some $5 million, including a $2.5 million budget for transportation.
About 78 per cent of the system’s students are transported to class every day, including 126 students who attend charter and parochial schools. Cost of transporting those students to non-public schools approaches $450,000 a year, according to Hugh Braham, longtime Boardman Local School director of transportation.
He said this week that the Boardman School Board has recently taken steps to insure student transportation, while at the same time saving the system money.
For example, several used busses have been purchased and are being restored to meet state inspection standards.
Additionally, busses that do not meet state inspection standards are being saved and used for spare parts needed to maintain the system’s daily fleet of 65 busses. Once all the spare parts are used, the shells of those busses will be sold for scrap.
And, two non-public schools will be absorbed into the daily runs of the public school bus system, the Islamic Academy of Youngstown and the PACE Alternative School.
“Last year, Boardman Schools spent $79,918 for bus service to the Islamic Academy and $65,949 for service to PACE,” Braham said this week, adding “The proposed new school bus routes for the two schools will generate a savings of more than $90,000.”
21 students are transported to the Islamic Academy and 18 students attend PAC.
Braham noted that in previous years, “School officials were handcuffed by state law, lack of equipment and a shortage of bus drivers that prevented the district from controlling the per pupil costs of transporting students to parochial and charter/private schools.”
When school opens on Tues., Sept. 4, the Boardman Local School system will provide services on 55 daily routes, staffed by 55 full-time drivers, eight substitutes and three handicapped aides.
Meeting in July, the school board also revised its school bus ‘anti-idling’ policy that was first adopted on May, 2006.
That policy requires all school bus drivers to turn-off the engines on their busses “as soon as possible to eliminate idling time and harmful emissions.”
The policy is mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in order to reduce air pollution, conserve fuel and reduce operating costs, and to reduce engine wear and tear.