Graham aims to restore full bus service


ST. PARIS – Graham Local Schools officials plan to restore door-to-door busing for high school students living in rural areas beginning Jan. 6, 2020.

The school board will be asked to approve the restoration at its scheduled Oct. 9 meeting.

A limited busing model for high school students was implemented at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year due to budget cuts. Transportation previously provided door-to-door was changed to a model in which high school students were served with group stops in the district’s communities.

According to a news release from Graham officials, the board of education has reprioritized spending, initiated innovative human resource practices and made reductions in services. Significant reductions have been made in spending while attempting to limit negative impact on student achievement and instruction, making it possible to reduce budget expenditures by over $2 million over the past two years.

In addition, special funding made available by Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio for this year and next will afford the district opportunity to fund some positions in the areas of student wellness, social/emotional health and success, easing the burden on the district’s operating fund.

Targeted implementation date of January for the new busing model allows time to hire drivers, develop routes and schedules and notify all families affected.

A public presentation on critical aspects of the new plan will be made at the Graham Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m. in the Graham High School Media Center.

“​The board has tried to prioritize spending in a manner that reduces its negative impact on instruction while maintaining fiscal stability,” Graham BOE President Ryan Pine stated. “Our continual discussions about balancing student achievement with essential services, listening to the community’s concerns about our current transportation model, and additional funds in the state budget have led to a decision to adjust the current transportation model. The recent state budget includes additional funding for ‘Student Success and Wellness’ through the 2020-21 school year. ​These funds can help add services for student wellness, absorb some costs from our general fund, and free up dollars to restore transportation for our rural, high school students beginning in January.”

Staff report

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