HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – While there’s plenty of excitement with the first day of school, there was also commotion in Howland about a new busing system.
Howland Schools sent 26 buses on the road Monday morning to pick up students in their own driveway, so they didn’t have to walk to a bus stop.
“We wanted the opportunity to not have…bus stops where the parent is responsible for picking up their kids to a bus stop, where that bus picks up maybe three or four locations,” Superintendent Kevin Spicher said.
All of the children were taken to the high school parking lot, where they waited to be transferred to a different bus that would take them to their school. Administrators got on the buses Monday morning to explain how the transfer would work.
“The tweaking is making sure all the buses get to that centralized hub point within a five-minute period, which will happen, and then making sure the kids know which bus to go to,” Spicher said.
The hub is across the street from the bus garage, so if a bus breaks down, there is a backup immediately available.
The transportation director is using a computer program to monitor the time it will take to pick up students on each individual street, so everyone arrives at nearly the same time. However, some children will naturally ride the bus longer than others.
“It doesn’t always gauge lights, traffic, those kinds of things in the flow. Once he is able to establish that, like any other school year, he’ll recognize what we need to do to get those buses to individual drop-off sites on time,” Spicher said.
Less than 25 percent of Howland High School students ride the bus. The school system made the changes to be more efficient and save money.
The district expected there to be some problems on the first day.
“We have parents who are taking pictures of their kids every morning on the first day of school. We have parents who are working to get their kids on the bus who might miss the bus, so the first day of school is not really a good gauge for us,” Spicher said.
The school district had talked about this system numerous times before the new year started, but some parents elected to take the kids to school themselves. Spicher says they are “100 percent safe” riding the bus.
“They’re being dropped off and picked up in the same manner that any other school district that transports kids from all sides of town, and we wanted them to be able to see that.”