July 31, 2021

Gp Delivers1

The excellent automotive artisans1

Springfield Public Schools passes transportation expansion for 2021-2022 school year

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Big changes are coming for Springfield Public Schools students. The Board of Education approved expanding bus transportation that will also impact school start times.

“3,000 more high school students will now have access to bus service each and every day,” said district spokesperson Stephen Hall.

Hall said 72{184722e0e226bcc33313b73fd463388417f454aa3a20797559fe2c0007fff18a} of high school students are currently not eligible for bus services. That is with the districts current qualifications requiring them to live at least three and a half miles away from their school. Soon, that requirement will be cut in half to one and a half miles. The change will also increase services for students attending magnet schools.

”We don’t want to be known as a district as being the most restrictive in bus service for our students, we want to remove any barrier and certainly a lack of transportation access is a big barrier for those, especially for those who are resourced and under represented,” Hall said.

The district will be implementing a three-tier bus system, which will have an impact on school start times.

The tiers include:

  • High schools and selected elementary schools are in the first tier.
  • Elementary schools and other specialized programs are in the second tier.
  • Middle schools are in the third tier.

The first tier would start school at 7:30 a.m. In the last tier, students would have to wait until 9:30 a.m. to get into the classroom.

”I think almost all people in Springfield believe that we need a third-tier bus system, I believe that, I want those 3,000 kids that are having trouble getting to school to have an equal, fair, [and] safe opportunity to get to school,” said Abbie Lane.

Abbie Lane has three children in the district. For her, it’s the the start times that are most concerning.

”My kids right now are the closest bus stop to the school, so they will be the first off,” Lane said. “That will still push them close to 5 o’clock at night, so the late kids especially in the winter months will be getting off the bus at dark, it will be cold and it will be rush-hour, so it is my opinion it is a safety issue that should be a main concern.”

Lane said she respects the school board and appreciates their kindness when she spoke at Tuesday’s board meeting.

“I think that they feel for us, I really do,” Lane said. “I do know they know our concerns, I think that they think this option is maybe the lesser of two evils, I don’t think that they think that either are great, but this one is better.”

The response from parents across the district has been mixed. Some are happy with the School board’s decision. Others, like Maryam Mohammadkhani think there has to be another option.

”I think we just need to go back and say you know what we tried, this is ok, but it’s not good enough,” Mohammadkhani said. “I want our board to stand up and say it’s not good enough district, let’s go back and do it again.

Mohammadkhani said she would like to see the district shift its budget rather than create a tier system. She also expressed concerns about the school start times.

The district sent out a transportation expansion survey in early January. Hall said it brought in around 6,000 responses.

Hall said now that the board has voted ‘yes’ on this item, it will move forward with making route changes and assigning the exact start and end times for each school. He said parents and staff can expect further communication from the school about the changes moving forward.

“It will be a broad overview that just says here is what will happen and please know we will be communicating with you throughout the spring so that all of your questions will be answered,” Hall said. “I think that will help alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with knowing that there is a change in the start and end times.”

The changes are expected to go into effect in the fall.

To report a correction or typo, please email [email protected]

Copyright 2021 KY3. All rights reserved.