Grass Valley School District to hold public forum on changes to bus routes, schedules in 2016
Increased Cost Proposed scenario
+345,000 No change to 11 current bus routes or GVSD school start times
+177,000 Nine bus routes; no change to GVSD start times
+140,000 Nine bus routes; GVSD and NCSD would alter start times
+110,000 Nine bus routes; GVSD K-4 schools and 5-8 schools would have different start times
+56,000 Nine bus routes; GVSD, NCSD and PVUESD would alter start times
+31,000 Nine bus routes; GVSD and PVUESD would alter start times
Cost-neutral GVSD shares bus routes with NJUHSD; GVSD alters start time
The Grass Valley School District is seeking community input on impending changes to the district’s bus plan.
The district is hosting a public forum at 6 p.m. tonight in the multi-purpose room at Scotten School to discuss several preliminary transportation scenarios for the 2016-2017 school year — the majority of which would not only cost the district more money, but also require it to alter school start times.
The revamped transportation plan is a result of schedule changes within the Nevada Joint Union High School District. Beginning next fall, the school day for students at Nevada Union and Bear River high schools will begin at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. — a change approved by the high school district’s board of trustees last May in an effort to make sure students are better rested during the day.
That means the Grass Valley School District, where students start school between 8:30 and 9 a.m., will no longer be able to share buses with the high school district. Both school districts contract with Durham Transportation, and sharing buses was cost-effective, said Grass Valley School District Superintendent Eric Fredrickson; he said the Grass Valley School District currently spends around $351,000 a year on home-to-school transportation.
Fredrickson said his district has been working with Durham, the high school district and other county school districts to formulate an alternative transportation plan for the 2016-2017 school year — discussions that have produced seven possible scenarios (see accompanying fact box for more details).
The costliest option would retain the Grass Valley School District’s current 11 bus routes — but would require the district to pay an estimated additional $345,000 to Durham annually.
Under five of the scenarios, the district would have nine bus routes, and would pay additional annual costs ranging from $31,000 to $177,000. Four of those five scenarios would require the Grass Valley School District to alter its school start times; under one scenario, the district’s K-4 schools and 5-8 school would start up to an hour and a half apart.
Several of the scenarios explore the Grass Valley School District sharing buses with the Nevada City and Penn Valley Union Elementary school districts. Though those options boast lower annual cost increases for the Grass Valley School District, they could require all three school districts to alter their start times. Under the cost-neutral option being explored, the Grass Valley School District would start its school day at 7:15 a.m. in order to continue sharing buses with the high school district.
All of the increased costs to the district were estimated based on the district’s current contract with Durham, which will expire in June and is in the process of being re-negotiated, Fredrickson said.
He said the public forum around transportation will be the first opportunity for the community to share input with the district, but not the last. The district plans to send out surveys on the topic to district staff and parents, and will likely hold another community forum in March.
To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.
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