ST. PARIS – A fourth failed earned income tax levy attempt in May by the Graham Local Schools District prompted plans to eliminate high school bus routes during the 2019-2020 school year. But the district announced to local media on Wednesday that limited bus routes for high school students will be implemented.
Graham Local Schools Board President Ryan Pine announced that high school busing for the 2019-2020 school year will be provided, but operating on a limited transportation model. The decision was announced at the regular board of education meeting on Monday evening. The district plans to establish “Group Stops” within the townships so that high school students can meet at the closest stop and ride the bus to school.
“Throughout the 2018-19 school year, our transportation department identified several routing efficiencies and implemented adjustments that will allow us to transport the same number of students while reducing two drivers for the 2019-20 school year,” Pine stated in a media release issued Wednesday morning. “Additionally, the district has received a high number of resignations late in the school year and throughout the summer months that were unplanned changes which have resulted in savings for the district.”
The district’s five-year forecast currently represents an adjustment in spending in order to plan for long-term financial stability. “With the reduction in budgets and $1.5 million in cuts, the district continues to face the loss of good and experienced people to districts that are able to provide competitive pay, benefits, and job security,” according to the district statement issued on Wednesday.
“Although the Board of Education has decided to continue limited transportation for all students for an additional year, the revenues of the district will continue to inhibit all stakeholders and the ability to instruct, transport, and support students at an acceptable level of performance,” according to the the district’s statement.
“Financial stability with prioritized instructional spending will continue to be the focus for the board when we are forced to choose between essential services in the future,” Pine said. “It is imperative for Graham to pass a new operating levy for the district to climb out of our current and historical cycles of devastating cuts.”
District officials will communicate the transportation plans for all Graham students, especially high school students, prior to the start of school.
“The District wants to thank the community in advance for their patience, flexibility and understanding as the transportation department establishes routes in order to ensure that students get to school in the safest and most efficient way possible,” according to the district’s statement.
Information derived from a Graham Local Schools press release.