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Potential Savings Suggested in School Busing

Consultant urges Peekskill to reconsider ‘liberal’ accommodation of requests regarding bus stops and child-care sites, seek change in billing method.

Peekskill schools could streamline their student transportation program and potentially save money by adjusting current busing operations, a consultant told the Board of Education Tuesday night.

Louis J. “Lou” Boffardi, a consultant with Walworth, NY-based Transportation Advisory Services (TAS), described Peekskill’s transportation system as “good” in terms of structure and routing but suggested that the district reconsider its “liberal” accommodation of parental requests and enforce the annual April 1 deadline for transportation requests. Boffardi, a former schools superintendent, also recommended that the district revisit the way Mile Square Transportation bills the schools for its services.

TAS was founded in 1987 and describes itself on its Web site as “the Nation’s largest dedicated student transportation consulting firm,” with more than 400 studies conducted.

Peekskill utilizes 39 vehicles – eight buses, mostly for transportation between home and district schools; four vans within the district; and 27 other vehicles, mostly vans for special-education students, that transport 460 youngsters to 49 locations. Tight scheduling enables one vehicle to service more than one school, Boffardi said. Routing – which determines the number of vehicles needed, cost and services – is mapped by district transportation staff during the summer.

Boffardi, while not citing dollar amounts, suggested that the district review its approach to the following:

Bus stops. The district’s “liberal” response to parental requests to change stops results in overcrowding on some buses and underutilization of others.

Child-care locations. While acknowledging the importance of child care before and after school, especially for single parents, Boffardi said location changes affect the number of students on buses. He suggested that the district, which has been “liberal” in responding to requests of parents and guardians, insist that it be notified of any child-care transportation needs by the April 1 deadline (which also applies to requests for transportation to parochial and private schools). Timely notification is essential for proper planning, he said. In response to a question from board member Marcela Bobe about an unforeseen location change, Boffardi said many districts allow it if space on the bus is available and the route is not affected.

Ridership updates. Boffardi suggested three during the school year – possibly keyed to the fall, winter and spring sports seasons – with busing adjustments as indicated.

Cooperative/shared transportation (piggybacking) with neighboring districts. Peekskill cannot offer piggybacking to its neighbors because of the nature of its contract for busing. But a Peekskill student could piggyback on, for example, a Lakeland Central School District bus because Lakeland owns its bus fleet. Boffardi said the state Legislature is considering a more liberal approach to piggybacking.

Billing. Peekskill’s contract with Mile Square utilizes what Boffardi described as a “dated” approach in which services are billed in whole hours; thus, three hours and 10 minutes are billed as four hours. Most contracts, Boffardi said, bill in half-hour segments, broken at the 15-minute mark; thus, three hours and 14 minutes are billed as three hours while three hours and 18 minutes are billed as 3.5 hours. Superintendent of Schools James Willis said he would contact Yonkers-based Mile Square about adjusting the billing procedure.      

In response to other board questions, Boffardi suggested that any questions about liability and transportation issues be referred to the district’s attorney while Carmine Crisci, district director of facilities and transportation, said the district does not let a student take a different bus to a visit a friend’s home.

Katie Schmidt Feder January 29, 2012 at 08:01 PM
This article makes it sound the current bus transportation in Peekskill is luxurious with accomodations being made left and right. I have to disagree. Woodside school now starts at 8:00 am and ends at 2:00 pm so that buses can do double duty. This means that my daughter should meet the bus at 7:10 am! I find this insane. School ending at 2:00 pm is VERY hard for working mothers - even of those with flexible positions. Since the district has discontinued ALL AFTERSCHOOL care - many working parents have not choice other than to have the bus take their child to a child care facility. The district also assumes it is appropriate for 2nd and 3rd graders to walk from the Depew park area over to Oakside - a route that takes them through the busiest part of downtown - as my son does NOT qualify for bus service from our upper- Hudson Street address. The district should bring back reasonable start times AND afterschool care and see the money it actually SAVES the district in transportation to childcare costs.
peekskillman January 29, 2012 at 09:29 PM
some ideas to save the green: =go back to the neighborhood schools like it was years ago. Sal Corda, the old Super, pushed this on the district, and now look what we have Uriah Hill is empty because of this , and we are paying thousands for busing =check the student records to see where they REALLY live, and if they are in the district legally (whether by citizen ship, or true address) this would help overcrowding =stop allowing the men from maintenance use the school truck for personal use-they are seen at the bank, as volunteer fireman while at work, and doing personal errands, at what cost in gas and time =stop paying the teachers extra for every "enrichment " class that they take; with the terrible graduation rate, maybe they should focus more on the classroom. What other job guarantees more money every time a course is passed? =require the Supt to live in the district; this would allow him to actually see the conditions of the community, as well as save $ on the car and gas mileage that the district pays for (or at least used to with Sal and Judy) =way overdue to partner up with the City for supplies etc; was discussed years ago, still a great idea, why hasnt it been implemented yet =more to come

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