Fewer students will be bused
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According to a school district presentation available at www.baldwinschools.org, the district currently transports around 2,500 students per day. Officials anticipate that about 1,000 students will be affected by next year’s busing alterations. (For maps of the new busing routes broken down by grade level, see the website.) The district has also said that late buses (which depart at 3:45, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and cater to students involved in after-school clubs) will not be affected by the referendum. Schmohl explained that although the district is empowered to unilaterally alter late bus schedules, a tightening of the system that took effect at the start of the school year has improved efficiency enough that further adjustments were unlikely.
Why was the referendum necessary?
Between the shrinking of state aid and the swelling of financial commitments, Baldwin’s schools are facing a gap of around $6 million between this year’s programs and the predicted costs for 2013-14. The school district, in concert with the Board of Education, says that reducing the distance students are bused is a way to save money. The referendum itself was necessary because the district cannot make changes to its transportation formula without the approval of a majority of voters.
How will the savings be used?
In materials it began distributing in September 2012, the district said that cuts to popular programs would be nearly inevitable next year. Stressing that no programs were scheduled for wholesale elimination, the district pledged that if the transportation referendum passed, it would use the savings to restore elementary art and music, clubs and activities and some athletics (see chart).