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BC: Busing changes pay off

New practices expected to save $500k to $800k

As part of a cost-saving measure to consolidate bus stops, the Bethlehem Central School District saved at least an additional $350,000 that was unexpected.

As part of a cost-saving measure to consolidate bus stops, the Bethlehem Central School District saved at least an additional $350,000 that was unexpected.

— Buses are now operating at 80 to 100 percent capacity, which officials said has led to some complications. It has been harder to fit additional gear, the rides are less comfortable, are often longer and there have been some behavioral issues. Kehoe said an increased number of parents are also opting to drive their children to school, so traffic in the morning and afternoon has increased.

Karam said about 24 routes have been eliminated from last year’s total, making for 24 fewer drivers on the payroll who did 163 hours of work per day. Some of the drivers were kept on as substitutes or drivers for extracurricular activities.

Kehoe said the range of savings is so wide because officials are not sure if more students will opt to ride the bus once winter begins. Depending on the number of additional routes, the savings could be closer to $500,000.

Superintendent Tom Douglas and Kehoe said any savings would be placed into the district’s fund balance to try to offset costs in next school year’s budget.

“We’re only seven weeks into the school year,” said Douglas. “Once we get halfway through, that will give us a better predictor and then it is right before the budget season.”

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