SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield Public Schools is asking all parents to decide whether their kids will ride the bus during the fall semester.
The transportation expansion plan will take parents’ decisions and possibly change the start and end times for nearly all schools in the district.
Cynthia Miller, a Springfield Public Schools (SPS) grandparent, said high schoolers living within a mile-and-a-half of campus will be eligible to ride the bus. This is a big change from previous years requiring children to live three-and-a-half miles away from campus.
“I feel good, yeah,” said Miller. “I would like that so I wouldn’t have to take time out of my day to drop him off and pick him up.”
Communications officer Stephen Hall said SPS wants to keep the costs of the expansion below $1.5 million. Staggering school start times is one way to make that possible.
The district’s plan would have high schools beginning class at 7:30 a.m., most elementary schools beginning at 8:30 a.m. and middle schools and K-8 starting at 9:30 a.m.
“All I know is I’ll be here everyday to pick them up,” said Blaine Williams, an SPS grandparent. “I’ve been doing it for 10 years.”
Hall sid the district knows the change will be helpful for some parents, but be an added stress for others.
“We do recognize that any time you make changes there will be unintended consequences and impacts on individual family schedules, but I think it’s important to remember the ‘why’ behind this, because when we recognize that 3,000 high school students who have never before had access to buses will have access to that service for the first time, it’s big deal,” said Hall. “It’s about removing barriers to education and making sure that more students can get to school safely and on time.”
Hall said schools’ start and end times could still change depending on the number of parents who opt-in by April 30. SPS hopes to have a finalized plan by mid-summer.