April 15, 2022
Bell schedule and pay rider eligibility changes coming in 2022-23
Despite exhaustive efforts to attract and retain bus drivers, there are more students utilizing transportation services than bus drivers available to transport students in a timely manner, consistently. The district reached a point where difficult changes were necessary to reduce the number of routes needed and stabilize transportation services for the 2022-23 school year.
Number of designed routes needed = 128
Available Drivers = 111 from Durham and six from other contracted services
Average number of daily vacant routes taking into account staff absences = 15
Result = More than 1,200 students are either transported by their families or arrive 30-45 minutes late on a daily basis resulting in lost student opportunities for learning, which is unacceptable.
Under State Statute the district is only obligated to provide transportation for students who receive special education services, and K-12 students who reside in the school district and live more than 2.5 miles from their attendance school.
Historically the district has offered services to parents who want to purchase services for children who live less than 2.5 miles from their assigned school. Over the years it has become more and more challenging as the number of riders grew and availability of drivers continued to shrink. There are many days that more than 1,200 students are either being transported at the last minute by their families or waiting 30-45 minutes for a bus to finish running its first route before being picked up. This scenario occurs before and after school and negatively impacts students, families and staff schedules.
As a result, the following changes were recommended by administration and passed by the Board of Education at the April 11 meeting. The changes result in an estimated reduction of nine to 10 bus routes, eliminating transportation services for approximately 515 students.
High school and middle school students will not be provided bus services if they are less than 1.5 miles from home to school (except for students qualifying for Special Education transportation services.)
There will be no change to the pay rider eligibility for elementary school students.
High school and middle school bus stop distances will increase from .25 mi to .5 mi where it is safe to do so; reduces the number of stops and increases the speed of the route.
Additionally, administration made slight changes in school start times for the 2022-23 school year.
Elementary school start times are five minutes later.
Middle school start times are 10 minutes later.
High school start times remain the same.
The bell schedule changes maintain the necessary 45-minute window between the middle school and elementary school drop-off and pick-up times; allow for as many high school and middle school combination routes as possible; and result in an estimated reduction of five to six bus routes.
Together, bell schedule changes and the reduction in pay riders are expected to result in 15 fewer routes, the same average number of drivers the district is short daily.
This spring, current fifth through 11th grade pay riders who reside less than 1.5 miles from school will receive a notification letter from Durham, the district’s transportation provider, about the changes coming in 2022-23.
Blue Valley’s Board of Education hosted its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Monday, April 11. In the video, check out all the amazing staff members and students that were recognized. Also, stay up to date with highlights from the meeting in this month’s edition of Board Briefs.
Want to watch a replay of the full live streamed meeting? Visit Blue Valley’s Board of Education YouTube page for a full recording of the meeting. For more information, visit the Board of Education page on our district website.
Blue Valley issues remaining bonds from 2020 referendum
The Blue Valley Board of Education issued the remaining bonds from the 2020 bond referendum passed by district voters. The community’s support of the bond has allowed the district to reinvest in facilities and technology, reinforce school safety and reimagine learning environments and programs to benefit students and staff. Community members can learn more about the 2020 bond and bond projects at www.bluevalleyk12.org/bond.
The principal amount of bonds sold in the 2022-A series was $61,835,000. Ten institutions bid on the bonds, with the low bidder being Morgan Stanley & Co, LLC at a true interest cost of 3.105145%. During a rating review last month, Moody’s Investor Services reaffirmed the district’s Aaa bond rating and Standard and Poor’s reaffirmed the district’s AA+ bond rating.
Join the Blue Valley Educational Foundation from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, April 22, at the District Office Campus @ 15020 Metcalf, for a free community-wide festival. This event has something for everyone! Food trucks, musical performances, art exhibits and tons of family-friendly games and activities. At sundown, enjoy fireworks to close out the evening of fun! You won’t want to miss this great opportunity to come together to support our schools.
Learn more about how you can support Night of Lights and purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a Weber Grill package (donated by Westlake ACE Hardware) by visiting the BVEF website.
The Blue Valley community can stay up-to-date on the 2022 legislative session and bills that stand to impact Blue Valley by:
Viewing the legislative presentation given at the April Board of Education meeting
Reading recent testimony submitted by the district, including a letter to Governor Kelly with a request to fully fund special education in Kansas. The state of Kansas is legally obligated to fund special education at the 92 percent level. When the state fails to fulfill its legal obligation, Blue Valley provides the necessary funds, over $9.8 million, from our General Operating Revenue.
Additional information about the legislative session, including links to useful resources, is available on Blue Valley’s 2022 Legislative webpage.
The transition into parenting teenagers is a time of tremendous change for teens and it can be overwhelming as a parent to know how to help. "Prepped and Ready" is a resource from Children’s Mercy Kansas City that seeks to empower families to address the hard topics that can be very uncomfortable and changes each one of us can make within our own homes to make them safer.
Learn more about Prepped and Ready at www.childrensmercy.org/preppedandready.