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Possible School Transportation Cuts

April 10, 2009, 5:52 PM by Katie Janssen

Possible School Transportation Cuts
The Sioux Falls School District needs to cut more than $500,000 from its budget.  It says cutting transportation costs could save more than a quarter-million dollars. But those cuts would trickle down to the company that provides busses for the district.

School Bus Inc. busses take dozens of children to and from school every day. The Sioux Falls district has proposed streamlining those trips to save money and would move the middle school start time 15 minutes later.

"In order to make this happen, we just needed a little more time between bells to lengthen out the route and double run the busses," Jim Shafer of School Bus Inc. said. 

The company says that means six or seven fewer busses running on school routes because they can combine some of those routes and put kids from different schools on the same bus.

"It's cheaper for us to have one bus do the four runs, two elementary and two middle school, versus two busses and two drivers do one elementary and one middle school," Shafer said.

School Bus Inc. admits it's not easy to lose out on $260,000 dollars in standing revenue. But the deal would save the company money in fuel costs, and Shafer says he's happy to help his biggest customer.

"You're never anxious to cut your foot off, but we're partners with the district so when times are tough with them, we try to help as much as we can," Shafer said.

School Bus Inc. says if the proposal is approved, the company won't have to cut drivers' hours. The school board will hold a preliminary vote Monday night.

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