The bus shuttle service for Clay High School students in the Oregon City Schools District will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
The students have been without bus service since it was eliminated by the school board last year to cut expenses. Angry parents had expressed concerns to school officials about their children having to walk to and from school if they could not make arrangements for transportation. Some parents also said they were late getting to work so they could drop their children off at school.
School board candidates P. J. Kapfhammer and Jeff Ziviski, who won seats on the board in November’s general election, were also critical of the cuts, particularly after the board had later voted to give raises to administrators in the district. The board later agreed to provide limited transportation to high school students, saying the district’s finances had improved enough to provide the bus shuttle.
“With the cuts, we saved $500,000,” said Dean Sandwisch, director of business affairs in the Oregon City Schools District. “We are bringing back bus service, which will stop at 12 locations in the district. Originally, there were 10 locations. As students signed up for which route or area they were interested in, then we refined our stops a little bit based on the population or number of students.”
Two of the additional stops are in the Starr-Fassett area, he added.
Buses made between 200-300 stops for 500 high school students before full-service transportation was eliminated last year, said Sandwisch.
“This year, we did some informal surveying. When we did the survey initially, we had about 350 students who were interested in possibly taking the shuttle,” said Sandwisch. Forms mailed to parents determined there would actually be about 200 students who would be taking the shuttle.
“We thought once the parents got the survey, that number would grow a little bit, but it didn’t. It actually shrunk,” he said.
Sandwisch said a lot of time was spent on the shuttle plan to satisfy as many parents as possible.
“We looked at the maps and we have covered the district. I understand that this is not going to be a good plan for every parent. We’re going to be accommodating as much as we possibly can. But for right now, we’re pretty well set,” he said.
Sandwisch requested that the precise pickup points not be publicized, for safety reasons, but said they are in the following areas:
• Jerusalem Township
• Two on Bay Shore Rd.
• Four on Starr Avenue
• Dustin Road
• Wheeling Street
• Woodville Road
The cost to the district for the shuttle service for the remainder of the year is $50,000, said Sandwisch. The cost for the entire year next year will be $100,000.