GOWANDA - Residents have spoken out on the issue of single routing for Gowanda Central School students.
Charles Rinaldi, district superintendent, announced the results of the transportation efficiency study at a recent board meeting.
Rinaldi said the district received 224 completed surveys. The results were mixed on the issue of single routing as a good option for the district and students, according to Rinaldi.
"... It's an issue of safety, an issue of potential bullying, an issue related to change ... in this case it was almost a split. Fifty-fifty that it was a good idea for some and a bad idea for others," he said.
The district is looking into single routing with high school and elementary students bused together on the same run. High school students would be dropped off first in the morning but picked up second in the afternoon.
"We would let the high school children off first in the morning. Following our current bell schedule, we would pick up the elementary school students first," Rinaldi said.
Other survey results included student safety, increased attendance and savings to the district as the top three priorities named by residents backing single routing.
While the savings will come in fuel, parts and outside contracts for the district with single routing, four additional buses may need to be purchased, according to Rinaldi.
"On a business forecast about savings associated with things like fuel, contract services ... lubricants, parts and materials, when we looked at that ... we forecasted that we could save about $56,000 in that one category," Rinaldi said.
The next step for moving forward will be designing the route with more specifics. The board will discuss the matter further at its Dec. 19 meeting. At this time the board will decide to go forward with single routing, to slow down the process or to dismiss the matter entirely.
"If we're going to go forward, we're going to open up the negotiations, start designing the routes, getting more specific information (on how many buses needed) and what the bus replacement schedule would be over time," Rinaldi said.