Changes In Store For Marion County Students
With a projected 49 million dollar revenue loss, there are plenty of changes in store.
"Two and a half, 3 maybe 4 million dollars...somewhere in that ballpark," said Marion County Public Schools Spokesperson Kevin Christian.
That's how many school board dollars will be saved by combining, cutting and deleting bus routes.
"It's pretty safe to say that if you ride a bus, you're going to have to walk farther to get to your bus stop," said Christian. "When you combine the cost of fuel, with the cost of labor, and the time factor involved and the geographical size of Marion County, we have a huge task when we transport students everyday."
Previously bus hubs were used primarily at the magnet school level, but to save on public dollars those hubs have now been extended to include all of Marion County public schools.
During the school year, buses burn nearly one million gallons of diesel, and travel over eight million miles enough for 16 trips to the moon and back.
"We're combining a lot of neighborhood stops," said Christian. "So instead of stopping 3,4,5,6 times within the same neighborhood we may only stop one time in the front of that neighborhood."
Fourth year teacher Jessica Cicione teaches at Madison Streeet Elementary. She realizes her students may have to walk a little bit farther to get to their bus stop, but what her students should look forward to is a new beginning to what she says will be another great year.
"It's a fresh start and we have the summer to relax and spend time with our families," said Cicione. "So now it's time to come back and get focused and prepared for the year."
Christian adds with a new year brings new challenges, but despite that he hopes the impact of it all will be minimal.
"We have made a lot of cut-backs to the budget, and our numbers reflect that," said Christian. "Fortunately we haven't had to lay anybody off, that's the goal. The other goal is to not impact the classroom directly. Now will it be impacted yeah probably to a degree, but hopefully that degree will be very very limited."
School orientations take place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Christian says that's the most practical time for parents with questions to voice their concerns.
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