SPS cancels shuttle service

Published 10:40 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2013

When Suffolk Public Schools begins its new year Sept. 3, a new staggered bus schedule will mean the end of a shuttle service once enjoyed by the children of staff.

Previously, where available, the service conveniently ferried children of employees to or from their workplace in the morning or afternoon.

For example, if an employee at a high school had a child at an elementary school, and if a bus dropped older students off at that high school before picking up for the child’s elementary school, the child would be shuttled in the morning, district spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw explained.

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“Secondary schools started before elementary schools, so it was only a morning shuttle for this scenario,” she said.

Meanwhile, in the afternoon, an employee at an elementary school could have a child at a middle or high school brought to her workplace, if a bus were assigned to leave the secondary school before reporting to the elementary school for its next run.

“The reverse wouldn’t work in the morning because secondary schools started before elementary schools,” Bradshaw said.

But it would be impossible to continue the service with the new bus schedule, which goes from two to four bells and changes school start and finish times.

“It might work for some scenarios, but not all, so the convenience/privilege will no longer be offered,” Bradshaw said.

About 80 students used the service last year, she said.

The district’s coordinator for transportation, Lonnie Reavis, reported fielding “maybe five or so calls” about the discontinuation, “each were told that the service would not be offered any longer.”

Despite the questions from some of those that had benefited from the service, its discontinuation was discussed at each of three public input sessions on the staggered schedule, held last spring, according to Reavis.

It was also announced at a School Board meeting where the new schedule was approved, he noted.