The buses are rolling back to school this week, and this year, redesigned bus routes look to cut down on the waitlist for students looking for a ride to the Mary C. Burke Elementary School Complex.
Over the summer, school district staff redesigned the yellow bus routes to maximize the number of students who have seats on the first day of school and reduce the number on the waitlist, according to Superintendent Mary Bourque.
“This year, we looked at the ridership data and created the bus routes from scratch so that we could get the greatest number of elementary school students into bus seats on the first day of school,” said Bourque.
This year, two buses will start their routes in Prattville, where a large number of students live, and another will begin on Admiral’s Hill.
School officials are looking to reduce traffic congestion, as fewer buses will be crossing paths on the way to pick up students.
Letters have been mailed to families of all students who have assigned seats on the buses. The letters include laminated tags with the student’s first name, bus stop, and bus number. School officials are asking that the tags be attached to students’ backpacks so they can be easily identified as riders.
As of last Thursday night’s School Committee meeting, there were no students on the bus wait list, according to Bourque. In recent years, the waitlist has been as high as 100 students.
“We do have approximately 100 families who still have not brought in proof of address to the Parent Information Center and we strongly encourage them to bring their materials in as quickly as possible so their child can get a seat on the bus,” said Daniel Mojica, Director of the Parent Information Center.
While many of the students may be able to get a bus seat, school officials stated that some routes are filling up faster than others, and some students could end up on a waitlist.
“We are asking parents who have not provided documentation to come in as soon as possible,” said Monica Lamboy, the district finance director.