The Press Newspaper
The Oregon school board will consider expanding the number of bus or shuttle stops for Clay High School students for the 2012-2013 school year.
The shuttle, which currently makes 12 stops, will make another five if the board approves, according to Dean Sandwisch, director of business affairs for the district.
“These additional stops minimally add to the cost of the current shuttle routing and will provide an expanded service to our community,” said Sandwisch.
He added that the stops are in between pick up points along the current, established route of the shuttle.
The proposed stops are at the corners of Seaman and Yondota, Pickle and Lallendorf, Pickle and Eastland, Brown and Coy and Karl and Ansonia.
The cost to the district for the shuttle service for the next school year was estimated at $100,000.
Sandwisch said a survey of the district conducted by the board last fall showed some need for additional stops.
“We are continually reevaluating the service,” said Sandwisch, “and based on the survey, and some of the comments and board directives, we looked at whether more stops were needed.”
He initially looked at nine possible stops of which only five met certain criteria.
“Most of our population is in Oregon City proper, so we tried to keep the same criteria when looking for additional stops,” said Sandwisch. “We looked for public, well lit areas, and areas where parents could have some available parking. From that, five met those criteria.”
Buses made between 200-300 stops for 500 high school students before full-service transportation was eliminated last year.
At the end of the school year, there were over 100 students riding the bus shuttle, he said.
“On average, from the time we implemented the shuttle service, to the end of the year, we averaged 120 students riding the buses,” he said.
“Right now, our capacity is in the 240-250 range, so we really could double our ridership with no additional shuttle or runs. So that would be wonderful if we could fill that need. I don’t know what will honestly happen. My hunch is that it will increase marginally but maybe not significantly. We may go up to 130 or 140,” he said.
Most of the feedback from parents and students, he said, “is totally positive.”
“It’s all been good. We’ve not had one negative comment on it,” he said.
No one has suggested specific stops for their children, he said.
“We have not received that. But it was reported in the survey. So we’re trying to be responsive, but we haven’t heard that directly,” he said.
The district’s transportation supervisor, he said, rides the shuttle, on occasion, to evaluate the service.
“We get feedback all the time on our route,” he said.
There are currently three buses that run a total of six routes. Additional buses will not be needed, he said.
“I think the proof will be in the numbers, once we get going. But hopefully, we’ll pick up a few additional riders who need it. That remains to be seen,” he said.
The school board eliminated busing for Clay High School students last year due to budget constraints. The shuttle service started in January after angry parents complained 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 after dropping their children off at school.
The board had agreed to limited transportation, saying the district’s finances had improved enough to provide the bus shuttle.