General Brown releases busing plan

SYDNEY SCHAEFER/WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES

DEXTER — As promised, the General Brown Central School District has worked with School Bus Consultants and has found the most efficient bus route for its elementary school reconfiguration being launched in the 2019-2020 academic year.

The reconfiguration will include Brownville-Glen Park and Dexter elementary schools. Dexter Elementary School will serve all students in preschool to grade two, and Brownville-Glen Park will serve all students in grades three to six, regardless of where students live in the district.

With reconfiguration, the schools will have all same-grade students pooled into one class and then divided by five teachers. Each school will have five sections of a grade, besides preschool. Higher grades may have their students see all five teachers for certain subjects, while younger grades will only have one teacher for each section.

After public hearings, the district became aware that parents’ major concern with the reconfiguration revolved around how transportation would work moving forward.

Superintendent Barbara L. Case reassured parents at these meetings they would look into transportation with consultants before moving forward. The consultants reviewed factors such as school bell times, existing bus run times, asset utilization and capacity utilization. The consultants also used TransFinder routing software to improve the efficiency of the routing for elementary runs, reducing overall student ride time.

The district will have 19 buses performing 35 runs for 1,623 planned students in 2019-2020. Buses will be deployed in two tiers, as they are now, with junior and senior high school students riding together on the first set of runs and elementary students comprising the second set.

The average ride time will be 38 minutes, with the longest ride time estimated at 75 minutes.

“We’re still fine-tuning the logistics, but we feel transportation will be well-positioned to kick off the next school year in a favorable manner,” Ms. Case said. “We will continue to evaluate busing after the school year starts and adjust as necessary, but we feel School Bus Consultants has helped us devise a solid plan for the next school year.”

The district sent home a transportation survey for families to complete on the last day of school to help the transportation department finalize pick-up and drop-off times. These schedules will be communicated to families in August, according to a news release.

An informational night for families at each school is also planned for later this summer, with details to be posted at a later date on its website and Facebook page.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Health, nonprofit and education reporter for the Watertown Daily Times.

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