The Wake County school system announced this week changes that the district says will help improve bus service but could also cause some students to go without service at the start of the next school year.
Starting with the 2014-15 school year, families who are new to the school district and current students who want to ride the bus for the first time will need to request bus service. But to be guaranteed service on the first day of school, these families need to make the request at least one month before classes start.
School officials say that setting a one-month cutoff date will allow them to lock down the transportation routes sooner and provide better service at the start of the school year. David Neter, Wake’s chief business officer, told the school board on May 6 that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system already uses that approach for bus service.
“Routes for known riders will be set for the first day of school,” Wake says in the press release. “Bus drivers will no longer have to wait at stops for families who don’t plan to use the service and will practice set routes to be ready for the first day of school. With superior routing, buses will travel less distance saving money on fuel and maintenance.”
The cutoff date for guaranteed bus service on the first day of school is June 6 for year-round schools, June 25 for modified-calendar schools and July 21 for traditional-calendar schools. The June 6 date applies for all four year-round tracks.
Families can begin requesting bus service online starting next Friday, May 30.
For families who miss the cutoff date, their requests for bus service will be processed in the order received. School officials say they will make every effort to provide service using existing bus stops as quickly as possible.
Families currently enrolled in the district who are using bus service and eligible for bus service next year will automatically be assigned transportation and need take no action.