Monday night’s school board meeting gave board members, minus chairman Ronnie Chelf, a chance to review and discuss in detail the bus routes for the county.
Phil Fulkerson, transportation director, and Ron Whitlock, area director of transportation, presented a detailed overview of the bus routes displayed on a map of the county, and discussed some possible alternatives to certain routes.
Whitlock said the “magic number” of one hour, which is the amount of time board member Norbert Skees challenged the transportation department to shoot for, “is going to cost some money.”
He and Fulkerson said that goal may be possible by adding two full routes, which would get 90-95 percent of riders under an hour on the bus. The measure would cost more than $100,000.
Fulkerson said with the projected state reimbursement for transportation this year cut to 66 percent, down from 90 percent last year, an addition of that size probably would not fit into the budget.
Whitlock said small adjustments can be made to save “five minutes at a time,” but it would be hard to get all routes under an hour.
Superintendent Sam Sanders said the ride times in LaRue County compared to surrounding districts are actually “better.”
Whitlock said there is a route in Hart County that is in excess of two hours.
Sanders said it might be possible to “make a lot of minor changes” that would “add up and make a difference.”
Skees said the important thing is to “let people know we are working on it” and “we’re doing the best we can.”
Whitlock said, “We care about the children and want them to get home safely and efficiently.”
Sanders also discussed recommendations from a recent study by the Kentucky Center for School Safety.
Two representatives from the organization observed traffic at the two elementary schools and the report made three specific recommendations:
The report was complimentary of the steps already in place, and Sanders said action has already been taken on the recommendations from the study.
Sanders said he had also requested the group return in the fall to do a complete safety assessment of all schools.
In other business, the school board: