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SACS bus cuts effective this fall

Homestead, Summit students see change

– More than 200 students at Summit Middle School and Homestead High School will have to find another way to get to class when two bus routes are eliminated starting next fall.

During Tuesday’s Southwest Allen County Schools board meeting, officials finalized plans to cut two bus routes for the 2014-15 school year and add several neighborhoods to the district’s no-transportation zone.

The change will affect an estimated 83 Summit Middle School students and 145 Homestead High School students, all of whom live within 1 1/2 miles of the two schools, officials said.

The number of students affected could change, depending on enrollment next year.

Many Hoosier school districts are struggling with losses from state-mandated property tax caps, which have reduced money coming into districts for transportation and capital maintenance.

“Our transportation funds are being massacred, and if we want to continue to have any transportation at all, we’ve got to do something,” SACS board member Holly Glick said.

By having the students walk or be dropped off at school instead of being picked up by a bus, the school district can save an estimated $100,000 next school year, transportation Director Dave Rarick said.

“We figure it costs us about $50,000 on average for one route, including driver wages and benefits and fuel, depending on how far out the route goes,” Rarick said.

Students within a 1-mile radius of Haverhill, Whispering Meadows and Deer Ridge elementary schools are already part of the no-transportation zone and have had to find alternate transportation, SACS officials said.

The district also has plans to cut transportation during the 2015-16 school year for students living within 1 1/2 miles of Woodside Middle School and within 1 mile of Covington and Aboite elementary schools, officials said.

More details about the changes will soon be posted on the district’s website, www.sacs.k12.in.us, and meetings for parents will be held during summer registration, officials said.

jcrothers@jg.net

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