Danville Community School Corporation administrators have been working on transportation changes for the 2020-2021 school year. The updated transportation model is designed to reduce costs and protect critical funding for use in our classrooms, all while ensuring students can safely reach campus and their homes. These changes will reduce bus routes, decrease the size of our bus fleet and lower our fuel consumption to ultimately minimize transportation costs from our operating fund.
School transportation services are funded through the school corporation’s operations fund. The operations fund pays for many things: building maintenance, electric and natural gas bills, much of the district’s technology, school buses, diesel fuel, and many other items. The operations fund is primarily funded by property taxes. It is also funded in part by state tuition support payments.
In 2019, the school corporation spent the following on transportation costs:
- Driver and bus aide wages: $712,000. When factoring in benefits, FICA, and payroll taxes, this expenditure was over $1 million in 2019.
- $132,000 on diesel fuel.
- $350,000 on three new school buses.
Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year this coming August, the following changes will be made to our current transportation procedures:
- A School Walk Zone will be implemented. This zone will initially include areas around South Elementary, Danville Community Middle School (DCMS) and Danville Community High School (DCHS) in a radius up to one mile surrounding those schools. Generally, the walk zone will include areas south of U.S. Highway 36 and west of State Road 39 (Cross Street) in walkable locations surrounding the main school campus. State law prohibits students from crossing a state road without a crossing guard and not all areas will be walking to school within the one mile radius. School Walk Zones will include:
- North Elementary students living within the one mile walk zone in kindergarten through 2nd grade will be picked up from a designated bus stop within the zone and transported to their school. North students may also walk to South Elementary to be bussed to their school if they prefer. This has been updated from our transportation communications previously sent to families in April.
- South Elementary students within the one mile radius School Walk Zone will walk to South Elementary. North students will be bused from South to North.
- DCMS students within the one mile radius School Walk Zone will walk directly to their school.
- DCHS students living to the west within the one mile radius School Walk Zone will walk to South and be bused to their school for safe travel along the high school’s south drive. DCHS students living to the east within the School Walk Zone will walk directly to their school.
- Centralized Bus Stop Walk Zones will be implemented in many neighborhoods and walkable areas in a radius up to one-half mile. This means students may walk up to one-half mile to get to a centralized bus stop rather than door-to-door service.
- Limited bus stops in our less populated areas further out in the district will be implemented. Longer ride times are expected and could be extended up to one hour and 15 minutes. The longest current ride time is about one hour and eight minutes.
Our transportation department will be communicating directly with families by July 1, 2020, on where your neighborhood falls within the new zones.
These transportation changes bring additional considerations. These include: supervision of students from the School Walk Zones waiting to be transported to a different building; crosswalks and crossing guards near the schools; increased drop-off and pick-up lines/times at schools; and the frequency of school delays or cancellations for inclement weather. Bicycle racks may be added at South, DCMS and DCHS so students may utilize their bicycles to get to school. These changes may also minimally impact the start and end time for our school day, which will be communicated with parents and guardians before the school year begins if necessary.
Especially during the colder months, we know that walking to school may be difficult for some families when it comes to winter clothing for students. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school if you have these concerns and our staff will happily connect you with community support.
School administrators have met with management for the Town of Danville and leaders in the Danville Metropolitan Police Department for support during this transitional time. Community members will be encouraged to keep their sidewalks clean for students and reminded of their speed during the school day.
During this time of change in our transportation policies, we want to thank our families and our community for supporting our efforts to operate within our current budget limitations. We know that these changes may not be ideal for some families, but we feel that these steps are needed to continue providing our Warriors with a great education.