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Activity bus pilot program starting at Shaler Area

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Shaler Area School District officials are hoping to make it easier for students to participate in after-school activities by providing additional bus service after the end of the school day.

The school board approved an activity-bus pilot program for students in grades seven to 12 who are participating in district-sponsored after-school activities for the 2014-15 school year.

Three activity buses will be divided between picking up students at the high school and middle school starting at about 4:45 p.m. and dropping students off at central community locations throughout the district.

“The idea of it was all activities to draw more kids in who don't necessarily have rides home from school to participate,” said Steve Romac, a school board member.

Superintendent Wes Shipley said the pilot program will not be a benefit to student athletes at this point because many practices run later than 4:45 p.m., but most clubs and activities at the middle school and high school are done by that time.

The high school day ends at 2:25 p.m., and the middle school day ends at 2:45 p.m.

The program is anticipated to run Monday through Thursday and cost the district $15 for each 15 minutes the three buses run.

“It's going to depend on ridership and how many stops,” Shipley said about the total cost.

There will be a form for parents or guardians to sign to give their children permission to ride the activity bus, and district officials said they will have a rider pass system in place. Students will have to sign up for the service through their activity sponsor.

School board member Jim Fisher requested bus drivers monitor how many students use the activity bus throughout the school year.

“That way, we have a better idea of how good the program is and if it's a waste of money,” Fisher said.

Shipley said more details will be forthcoming as district officials determine how the program will work. Shipley added that he hopes to have all information mailed to district families with the next school year's bus and class schedules.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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