We have made some changes to bus routes this year! While these changes are an improvement in efficiency and are a cost savings, we fully realize that they may be less than ideal in many cases. There will be more students on each bus as a result of combining some of the routes. The recalculation of the routes was a requirement of the State of Washington as part of overall budget reductions. While we would prefer to provide our students with enhanced transportation services, we will strive to make these new regulations work for White River.
Q: Why is the bus more crowded this year?
A: The State of Washington has changed the way that they figure the revenue for school districts for transportation. This is called a “funding formula.” Because of this change, school districts must maximize the capacity of each bus to ensure that we receive the best allocation of these funds.
We have worked hard to anticipate that the number of students on each bus route fills each bus to capacity. We may find that we need to adjust some of these routes slightly, if the number of students at each stop is not as we expected.
If your child’s bus is over its capacity, the driver will notify us immediately. We will handle each situation as it arises, with the safety of every child being our top priority.
Q: Our route number from last year is not listed. Where did it go?
A: In an effort to make our bus routes more efficient, some of them have been consolidated. All previous bus stops are still available. You will find your child’s bus stop address listed under another route number. If you are having difficulty finding where your child’s stop is, please contact the transportation department and they can help you.
Q: Why have the bus routes changed?
A: Busing is very expensive for the school district. We are working to make our routes more efficient by running fewer buses and filling them to their legal capacity.
Q: How many students do the buses hold?
A: The capacity of a bus is determined by the age group (and size) of the students on board. Additionally, we have several different sizes of buses. So for instance, a bus may be considered full to capacity with 78 elementary students, but only 55 secondary students. Other buses may have a larger or smaller capacity based on the number of seats. State regulations determine what the capacity of each bus is.
Q: Why is my bus late?
A: During the first few days of school, the buses may be running late. This is because the drivers are getting familiarized with the new routes, and students and parents are learning too! Things should even out and be on time shortly. We recommend that you arrive at the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled arrival time, and ask for your patience while we ensure the safe delivery of your child.
Q. I have a kindergartner and am concerned about what is done on the bus to make sure they will be safe.
A. Kindergartners will be seated in the first rows of the bus so the driver can keep an eye on them, and make sure they get off at their correct stop. If there is no one at the stop to meet the kindergartner, the driver will return them to their home school where they can be picked up by a parent or other designated person. We take the safety of our youngest students very seriously.
Q: What’s going to happen next year?
A: We anticipate that the amount of funding the school district receives next year will be reduced further. The State will be enforcing the guidelines we must follow regarding the distance students can safely walk to school. For elementary students, those that live within a one mile walking distance to the school and have a safe walking path (as designated by the State guidelines) will not have bus service. For middle and high school students, that distance will be 1.25 miles.
Q: What is the procedure if I think a bus stop needs to be changed?
A: A form for requesting a review of a specific bus stop is available on our website. Click on “Departments” and choose Transportation. The Bus Stop Change Request Form can be found there. Each request is reviewed individually and considered carefully.
Q: Where do I call if I have more questions?
A: The phone number for White River’s Transportation Center is 360-829-3361.