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Busing could play role in BC’s budget

Board considers changes to walking distance, closing middle school pool

Bethlehem Central High School

Bethlehem Central High School

— Facilities and Operations Director Gregg Nolte said position reductions are “not his choice,” but considering the economic climate his department would have to make do.

Before the workshop began, two freshman students, Annie Furman and Madeline Hagan, spoke out in favor of a communal bus stop proposal. They said they were willing to walk the extra distance if it meant classes would be saved. The two girls also gave the board a petition with nearly 250 student signatures.

“Under the current bus system most students are dropped off at or near their house, and this is not something I’m opposed to,” said Furman. “But this seems like an inefficient practice, not only in terms of time but also in regards to fuel and the number of buses needed.”

The board asked Transportation Director Alfred Karam for an estimate within the next week on how much could be saved by the idea, though Kehoe believed it would only amount to several thousand dollars versus plans to change the walking distance.

At the start of the 2010-11 school year, a new bus route plan that consolidated stops for 5,500 students was met with well over 1,000 complaints. Parents were mostly concerned about their children’s safety as they were walking, officials said at the time, and the switches didn’t result in a large savings. The number of bus stops was increased a short time later.

The next budget meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. in the high school library and will focus on special education, athletics, and revenue.

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