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No, bus transportation is a privilege not a right, except in the case of special education students. Busing students began at a time when communities were more rural and students had great distances to travel to school.

No, it is not even close. In the case of FISD, we get reimbursed $1.25 per mile based on the states allotment formula, and this allotment formula hasn't changed in over 20 years. The actual cost today of purchasing buses, bus maintenance, transportation salaries, equipment and fuel comes to approximately $5.31 per mile. Based on 2014’s operating costs, the district and taxpayers spent $5.9 million on regular route busing and $3.8 million on special routes. Transportation Facts from 2014-2015: 230 buses, 75 double/triple routes, 63 special needs routes, transporting 8,000 students per day, 1,978,538 route miles per year, 8,370 Field trips, 314,113 miles per year, 305,308 gallons of diesel used annually.

Most districts utilize the two-mile rule, because that is the distance set by the state in regard to reimbursement. As stated above, this is truly only a partial reimbursement when you look at actual costs.

We have studied this issue and if FISD designated hazardous areas, it would be a tremendous financial and tax burden on the school district.

A school district can only be reimbursed for up to 10 percent of their annual mileage allotment. Based on our 2013-2014 transportation report, FISD traveled 564,120 miles. If FISD decided to designate hazardous areas, we would receive $1.25 per mile for only up to 56,412 miles a year for a total of $70,515. This amount of money is the equivalent of paying two bus drivers and providing gas for both bus routes. If the district transported students more than 56,120 miles within the hazardous areas that are under the two-mile limit, the district would be responsible for all additional costs.

When people say the district would be reimbursed if we designated areas as hazardous, they are only partially correct.

FISD has never designated hazardous roadways, but they have also never stated that students living within two miles should walk or ride their bikes to school. The implication has been that parents are responsible for getting their students to and from school if they live within two miles. As stated earlier, if FISD adopted a policy defining hazardous roadways and began designating areas as such it would create a tremendous burden to taxpayers.

School buses are the safest way to transport your children to and from school. The color and size of school buses make them easily visible and identifiable, their height provides good driver visibility and raises the bus passenger compartment above car impact height; and emergency vehicles are the only other vehicle on the road that can stop traffic like a school bus can.

School buses are carefully designed on a different transportation and protection model than the average passenger car. The children are protected like eggs in an egg carton – compartmentalized, and surrounded with padding and structural integrity to secure the entire container. The seat backs are raised and the shell is reinforced for protection against impact.

There are other differences to consider between your car and your child’s school bus. In your car, you can supervise your child and ensure that your child’s belt remains properly secured. School buses use what is called “passive restraint,” meaning all a child must do to be protected is simply sit down in a seat. School buses also must be designed to be multi-purpose, fitting everything from a six year-old to an 18 year-old senior on the high school football team in full uniform. Sometimes it’s two to a seat, other times three. Because of this, emphasis is placed on protecting the entire valuable cargo.

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