Danville Express

Perspective - July 6, 2007

Bus stops here

The school board voted 3-2 last week to discontinue the school bus program, which has been providing service to students in Danville and Alamo. At first glance, it seems like the district should do all it can to keep its busing program for students and to expand it. School buses, with their high visibility and trained drivers, provide safe transportation and are more energy efficient than having each child or family of children transported in their own vehicle. Not to mention the problems of traffic, around the schools and on all the roads.

This being said, the number of students who were bused last year in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District is so small that it didn't make sense to continue to pay $378,000 to subsidize rides for them. Last year 600 students rode the bus out of the 25,000 children in the district and most did not ride both directions each day. It is easy to understand why three trustees thought the money should be spent to benefit more students. Families were charged $410 for a year of round trip transportation, and the state contributed $51,000 per year, adjusted for inflation but not for the number of students or miles.

Another option for transportation to school could be something called a "walking school bus." The children walk to school and a "driver" is hired to accompany them for safety reasons. Kids who live more than a mile from school could be dropped off at some point within the "bus route" so they also get the benefit of the exercise and to alleviate traffic congestion around the school.

The district has pledged to help parents find carpooling options with other families and to utilize public transportation wherever possible. These are options families around here have been using for a long time; it's good the school district is getting involved to make sure they work as well as they can for everyone.

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