Busing of Tiffin City Schools children is going to change next school year, enabling the district to save money by having fewer routes and drivers.
During a meeting Dec. 20, Tiffin City Board of Education approved reducing transportation of students to state-minimum standards. Starting next school year, the district only is to transport students in grades K-8 who live outside of a 2-mile radius of their school.
This school year, the district transports 600 regular education students daily, and the number is to be reduced to about 250 next school year. All students living in Clinton Township are transported this school year, but about one-fourth of them won't be eligible for the service next school year, according to information from the district.
Superintendent Donald Coletta said the district's goal has been and always will be to protect services it provides to students in the classroom, and officials have to look at cutting transportation before cutting classroom programs.
According to the district's information, the school system is to save about $120,000 from the transportation changes.
Of the $120,000, about $42,000 is to be saved by reducing the number of routes. The district is to save $30,000 by not implementing routes a transition team had suggested.
"There will be no shuttle service next year," Coletta said.
The final $50,000 will be saved through personnel changes, according to the information.
The district has supervisory employees who work with setting and assigning routes and maintaining buses, and the district is making adjustments in those areas, Coletta said. The district will announce personnel changes in February or March, he said.
Coletta said the two major changes to occur are exceptions made when there is room on a bus and the elimination of high school busing.
Typically, students are told they must live more than 2 miles from the school they attend in order to be transported, but when there is space on a bus going to a school, the district does have places where students who live inside 2 miles are picked up, Coletta said.
The district also currently buses high school students.
"That's all going to go away next year," he said.
According to the district's information, a child's eligibility to be transported to school by a bus is to be decided on a year-to-year basis. A child who qualifies for busing because he or she lives outside of the 2-mile radius while at Washington K-1 may not qualify for busing while at Krout 2-3.
It is possible for a bus to stop at one home and not pick up all of the children there. Also, to be transported to and from a baby sitter's residence, a child's residence and the baby sitter's residence must be outside the 2-mile radius, according to the information.
Coletta said the transportation changes are not going to affect activities. Transportation costs for athletics are paid for by the athletic fund, which gets its revenue from ticket sales.
"At this point, it will not affect (activities) ... in part due to the pay-to-participate," he said.
Coletta said he doesn't think people fully realize how the transportation changes are going to affect them, and he thinks the changes are going to be an issue in the fall.
He said officials have had discussions about the potential for more vehicles at schools, and Tom Anway, director of operations, has had discussions with safety-service personnel in the community.
"It will be addressed in our transition team process," the superintendent said.
Coletta said there is not a lot officials can do about the issue because the buildings only have a certain number of entrances and exits. They are going to work with parent-teacher organizations to see what role they can play in helping to create carpooling opportunities and other means of helping children safely get to school, he said.