Hempfield decreases number of buses for next school year
Fewer buses will be used next year to shuttle Hempfield Area students, continuing a trend of the past four years.
Budget cuts and decreasing student enrollment led to 44 buses being allotted for the district next year, six fewer than were used last year. The change will impact high school and middle school students. Elementary schools will remain unchanged.
“Route reduction has been an area of continued attention as the cost to operate a full-size school bus for a school year is $50,500,” a letter posted on the district’s website reads. “With the decreasing student enrollment, reductions have been occurring for several years in the number of full size buses.”
In all, the district will save about $302,400 by reducing its bus fleet.
During the 2015-16 school year, 59 buses were used. That number gradually dropped. The decrease for next year is the largest so far.
The reduction was made possible through a change in middle school building schedules. Next year, middle school students will be dismissed at 3:25 p.m. rather than 3:15 p.m., giving buses more time to pick up students from the schools.
Despite the changes, officials said the maximum time spent on a bus will remain at 50 minutes, and middle and high school buses will have an average of 48 riders, with the elementary number being higher.
Other changes are coming to the buses next school year with the implementation of two cameras, including one focused on the bus entrance to improve safety. A new mobile app called First View will allow parents to view the location of their child’s bus to and from school along with an estimated arrival time.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .