Long School Bus Rides Can Save Money, But At What Cost To The Student
published on August 20, 2013 by Sonia Mastros
school transportation costs, route software, school bus routing software
Finding ways to save more money for education is always a valid and worthwhile endeavor, as there can’t be an upper price placed on your children’s education. However, whether your district chooses to consolidate the total number of schools into a smaller number consisting of larger schools, or minimize school transportation costs, can have serious effects on your most valuable commodity: your students.
The connection between long school bus rides and saving money comes from getting rid of many smaller schools and merging them into fewer numbers of large schools. This saves on staff, property costs, and all the other financial considerations involved in running a school, caring for and educating the students. Unfortunately for the student, this usually means their home school, which was nearby, has been dissolved and they must take a longer bus ride to a faraway larger school. The increase in school transportation costs is significant, but still considerably lower than maintaining a bevy of smaller schools.
It turns out, further, that school transportation costs are the least of your concerns. Significantly longer bus rides have been shown to take an immeasurable toll on students, who must deal with things as concrete as uncomfortably long bus rides, to as intangible as decreased benefit from classroom instruction, for a variety of reasons. In some situations, they have to wake up so early just to be at the bus stop, and yet arrive at school so late that breakfast is no longer being served. Trying to focus on classroom instruction on an empty stomach hasn’t ever been an advisable turn of events, but this is the kind of thing that many students face when longer bus rides become one of the consequences of school districts’ attempts to save money.
Other effects besides school transportation costs are the decrease in student availability for after-school activities, such as sports and academic decathlons. The school buses for these naturally run later, and students just can’t afford to participate and run the risk of arriving home to late to do homework. These are just a few notable school transportation costs not involving money; the adverse results of longer bus rides vary nationwide, and we’d love to hear about any which might be specific to your situation, as well as possible solutions to help students cope with these problems.