A longer bus ride to school awaits more than 500 private school students who reside in the Beavercreek school district this year.
To be efficient and save money, Beavercreek City Schools will no longer pick up private-school students at their homes and transport them to their respective schools. Instead, those students will ride the bus to the nearest elementary school, where they will then transfer to a shuttle bus to get to their final destination.
The change in busing is the result of an efficiency study completed last year, according to Greg Thompson, Beavercreek City Schools director of business services. The study showed 19 buses were being used to pick up non-public students at their homes, and in many cases, only a few students would be on-board.
“This was all done to improve efficiency and be prudent with taxpayer dollars,” Thompson said. “We have to make sure we’re using taxpayer dollars wisely. This is a way to stretch those a bit … It’s a common best practice for other districts.”
The district did not provide estimates of how much will be saved with the changes.
The district has 101 buses in its fleet, and 83 will run daily routes this school year, Thompson said. That’s eight fewer buses running on a daily basis compared to last year, according to district records.
Each bus that is used daily costs approximately $50,000 to maintain, fuel, insure and pay the driver, Thompson said.
“The fewer routes this year is a result of evaluating all routes and identifying efficiencies. Some of the reductions are from the non-public changes but not all of it,” he said.
There are 531 non-public or private students in the Beavercreek school district this year, according to records. Of those students, 211 attend kindergarten through eighth-grade at Saint Luke Catholic School, 1442 N. Fairfield Road.
The average travel time this year for Saint Luke students is expected to be 35 to 45 minutes, which is “more in-line with other students,” Thompson said.
Beavercreek schools spokesman Ryan Gilding said letters have been sent out to private school households after some parents contacted the district with concerns over the changes.
Gilding said district administrators met with Saint Luke officials in May to talk about the changes in transportation.
“This shouldn’t have come as a surprise,” Gilding said.
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Some parents are expected to voice their concerns at the Beavercreek Board of Education meeting scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the board’s office, 3040 Kemp Road.