Proposed bus routes in Jones County could save school district $350k
When they’re not being used to pick up and drop off students in Jones County, all of the district’s buses are parked at the transportation department’s lot in the heart of Gray.
Wendy Vaughn keeps an eye out for them.
“In the future, yeah, we could always use new buses,” she said.
The transportation director say the $350,000 dollars she wants to help the school board save, could be used to buy news buses.
Her plan — use less buses and have drivers go to more than one school during the day. The board of education would then have to change class start and end times.
“Simply adjust bell schedules, starting out your elementary school students about 30 minutes earlier then what they are now,” Vaughn said.
Although he didn’t want to go on camera, Jones County schools’ superintendent William Mathews says the amount of time students spend in the school wouldn’t change, only the hours.
The upkeep on all 81 buses in Jones County cost the department somewhere around $3 million. Vaughn says she wants to get that number down as much as possible.
Vaughn says it cost $36,000 total to run and maintain each bus and pay each driver. She’d like to take 11 routes out of the rotation.
“Start in slow, build it up. Some drivers that we may have extra we’ll be able to benefit with those and make them leaderships. Make them mentor drivers,” Vaughn said.
On average, Vaughn says she loses about 10 drivers a year for different reasons.
So while the demand for new drivers is still there, she’s working with what she had — and hopes the school board approves the plan.
“If I’m saving the school $350,000, that’s $350,000 that can go back in and help educate the children of our county,” Vaughn said.
Superintendent Mathews says he’d like the school board to approve the plan at their meeting next Tuesday. If the board approves it, the plan will go into effect the upcoming school year.