Sunday, September 18, 2011

Is That Greece Bus Half Empty, Or Half Full?

It's been reported by the Supt. that on opening day in the Greece Central School District approximately 11,880 students attended. It was also reported that Greece Central buses transported 11,030 students that day.

  11,880 Total Students
- 11,030 Bus Riders
=     850 Students Walking in GCSD (7%)

On Friday Sept. 9th - the second day of school - I witnessed a number of buses (approx. 12-15) exiting Athena while I was stuck at the traffic light. Only a couple of those buses appeared to be carrying sufficient students to fill half or more of the seats. Several large buses held less than a handful of students and a couple held 3 or less. I saw two small buses leave, one with 2 students, the other appeared to have just 1! Please note that the buses exiting Athena were a mere fraction of the HUGE SWARM that had gathered at Athena at release time!

Later this same afternoon, I passed by Parkland School where significantly fewer buses (10-12 total) had gathered at release time, to transport their +/- 280 kids home, since there would be no walkers, as per policy.

Question 1 - With 20 schools in the district, why are so few total students walking to school?

Question 2 - Why is it that (adjusting for total student population differences between the two buildings) a school with a waiting list (Athena) needs so many more buses proportionately than a school that has none (Parkland) given that under current district policy ALL Parkland students would get to ride to ride the bus, but many attending Athena should be walking to school?

Question 3 - How many total buses does Greece Central employ?

Question 4 - What is the bus/student ratio?

Question 5 - How does this ratio compare to other similarly-sized districts?

It appears to this observer that:
1 - too few Greece students are required to walk to school
2 - an oversubscribed school (one with a waiting list) requires a much greater number of buses proprtionately to transport their students than a school that has no waiting list but is required to bus ALL students! (This is really a "no-brainer" observation, but some of you need it spelled out still.)


You know it.
I know it.
What are we going to do about it?


Anonymous said...

It would also be interesting to kknow what it costs to operate one bus (per mile or 100 miles, I don;t care)
1. Cost of driver
2.Cost of maintenance crew
3. Cost of gas, oil lubrication
4. Cost of depreciation
5. Cost of license and insurance

For once, let's hear the "real" cost of operating the buses we use every day. That needs to be a factor in our non-neighborhood school system. It would be interesting to have real numbers of the cost of transportation if we had neighborhood K-6 schools instead of drive in schools that run K-2 and 3-5 that are apparently located anywhere but in the neighborhoods of students.

Anonymous said...

Did any walk? How many were absent that day?

Anonymous said...

What would be the bussing cost if we adobted the state minimums for walking. This would give us a sense of the potential savings by changing our policies.

Anonymous said...

Bussing for pre-school was cut from the budget. I have heard that enrollment went down considerably. Is that true? Who isn't going to preK that would have?? Are disadvantaged students effected more by that cut? My guess is YES. How much will this cost the district as that group moves their way thru the system- both in graduation rates and standardized test scores? We keep bussing for SOC that overwhelmingly benefit middle/upper class kids... With limited amount of money in future budgets this district needs to focus its resources where they are needed not who whines the loudest. How will "awards" be used to lobby for continuation of this system?

SCATS said...

To 7:56AM ~~ Some older students walk every day, due to the district's walk/ride policy. On opening day (the day prior to my observations), the Supt. reported that 11,030 students rode buses. Many younger kids get driven to school on the FIRST DAY because parents want to take photos. That's not likely a big factor at MS/HS. In fact, typically the attendance rates are higher the first few days of school ... before the viruses start getting passed around ;)

To 7:59AM ~~ Much lower! Greece really coddles its kids.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you stop guessing and making assumptions and actually find out?

Also, you know that some of these buses are used to get kids to Aquinas, BOCES, Wemoco, sports, etc., right? It's much more complicated than just walking distance. All special ed kids get bussed, for example.

SCATS said...

To 5:37PM ~~ I don't have the authority to form a committee, hire a consultant and/or do a study ... which is what DO & the BOE do to get their answers ;) I think it's THEIR JOB TO FIND OUT since they are the ultimate decision-makers, capisce?

Anonymous said...

OMG...if the BOE decided to do any of those things, SCATS, you would lose your mind and be critical of THAT. There is no winning with you...everything is up for criticism and when anyone (BOE/SUPT included) try to involve people in seeking answers you question why a committee is needed. When someone (BOE/SUPT included) makes a unilateral decision you cry about not listening to the community. Must be a picnic being married to you (assuming you're married)

Anonymous said...

The last time the district hired a consultant to evaluate the costs, the consultant said they could not do the job because the district did not or could not produce the data they needed. And so it goes. I know of no effort to collect the data needed,so lets just set up another task force and pass the buck once again.

SCATS said...

To 7:01AM ~~ I didn't say they should do any of those things, I said it IS WHAT THEY DO ... big difference, ya know ;)

With the huge salaries bestowed upon DO's occupants, I believe they ought to get the data, share it with the community & make the decision. Sadly, we have a district full of whiney-arsed parent crybabies who have so little self-estemme they even get their hubbies to sob into mics for the media.

To 9:51AM ~~ Yup! They don't want to decide ;)

Anonymous said...

scats- many people agree with your ideas and concerns even though some are a bit petty. When someone disagrees with you, you get all sarcastic and passive aggressive. Sort of stifles the flow of communication.

Anonymous said...


It appears the that new Supt, unlike previous examples, is taking a thought out, reasoned approach to reforming our district.

I was in favor of some of the suggestions from the interim, but he was never in a position to follow through.

Achromovitch seemed to be shooting darts and never had an articulated plan. (How many students at WR this year? Any problem filling Kindergarten?)

The supt seems like she is going to come to the table with a plan for the future and steps to ensure that we get there. If I am not mistaken, she has said that she will deliver her plan in October or November. How about we stop whining about stuff we can't change today and wait for her to present her plan.

SCATS said...

To 11:35AM ~~ And if the BOE doesn't like her plan? Just as they didn't like the Interim's plan, NOTHING WILL CHANGE ... except maybe the Supt. ;)

Anonymous said...

The superintendent works for the school board, 11:35. If five of them don't like her plan, they can ignore it, change it, buy out her contract........

I predict little will change despite all of the hubbub about Barbie. Like SCATS suggested, the board doesn't appear to want change.

SCATS said...

To 12:28PM ~~ Don't say that too loudly! With the money the district "saved" on EXCEL, they've got plenty extra now to buy her out ... if just 5 don't like her ;)

Anonymous said...

I think you are right withe the extra money they will choose to save whatever school or schools they were going to close instead of putting it towards something that is truly needed. Instead it will be used to keep their friends happy by keeping a school open that is under attended and it will go towards unecessary busing from all over the district to keep the SOC and lottery alive, even if it is against what the Super recommends. The BOE has the ultimate deciding power not the Super regardless of how logical or thought out her plan may be. Sadly enough that will never change until the majority of the Board changes.

Anonymous said...

Sadly enough that will never change until the majority of the Board changes.

Haven't these same problems been going on through several board changes already?

SCATS said...

To 10:57AM ~~ I don't believe the BOE majority has changed in quite a few years. Unfortunately, once a change agent gets elected, they need to be kept away from the district Kool-Aid!

Anonymous said...

The bus situation has to be settled ASAP. The District is running buses that are over 12 years old. These buses have to have constant maintence. They are under no warranty. The money to repair them comes directly from the District & you & me. Some of these old clunkers have had over $20,000 work on them in the last few years. Some of them had to have extensive body work to repair rusted frames. That work has to be sent outside to be done. A transmission can cost upwards of $6,000. The amount spent on these buses would come close to the amount the District would have to pay for a brand new bus, after State reimbursement. New buses come with a long bumper to bumper warranty. That alone, would save the District thousand$ a year. I agree with the statements of walking distances and neighborhood schools, but if you are going to cut down the bus fleet start with the old buses and truly cut expenses.