About 1,000 fewer students are riding this bus this year than last year in the Milton School District.

Elementary school attendance boundaries and about 1,000 fewer bus riders and have led to increased efficiencies in transportation in the Milton School District.

The total number of riders this year is 1,278 compared to 2,201 in the previous school year.

Prior to the start of 2020-21 school year, the school board approved clearly defined attendance areas for each of the district’s four elementary schools. Without the boundaries, an FAQ document from the school district said up to 18 transfer buses were needed. The new system limits transfers to only students assigned to a school for a specific academic program

“I think some of the changes that we put into place coming into the year that weren’t COVID-related have helped make that an efficient system,” said Superintendent Rich Dahman.

It’s difficult to compare this year with any other because some students are learning online and in grades 7-12, students in the hybrid learning model alternate between learning in person and online every other day.

Dahman said a significant number of families are choosing to provide their own transportation.

After school drop-off times have been a lot earlier than in past years, he said

East Elementary School Principal Jen Cramer said the first day buses were back at 5:10 p.m., the second day was 5 p.m.

“In the past, it would be around an hour later with lots of confusion,” she said.

And, fewer riders means more room for social distancing, Dahman said.

“We are limiting one family per seat on the bus,” he reminded.

To help achieve social distancing goals, four bus routes were added for 4K-6.

The Milton School District contracts with Go-Riteway Transportation Group for busing.

Dahman reminded families that the school board on July 27 approved doing away with the Here Comes the Bus, GPS monitoring system and phone app. According to a memo from Carey Bradley, director of business services, canceling the service saved the district about $46,000 per year.

The contract with Go-Riteway also was amended by the school board Aug. 10 to offer financial relief from the monthly contract billing on days when school is not in session.

A memo from Bradley said Go-Riteway offered language similar to other districts with an extension of one year to the existing contract.

Per the amendment:

  • On days when transportation is not provided, the district will pay 70% of the average daily transportation charges.
  • The rate increases 3% for the 20-21 school year.
  • The contract is extended to include 2023-24 school year.
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