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Belgrade Schools looking for solutions to transportation issues

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Posted at 3:39 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 17:39:10-05

Belgrade Schools Transportation services are struggling to maintain their staff and the school district is looking at several options to get their students to school.

One Belgrade mom, who did not want to be identified, shared with us her feelings about seeing the district's transportation options.

“When I filled out the survey I had to pick the lesser of two evils,” she said.

On January 9, the Superintendent of Belgrade schools, Godfrey Saunders, sent out an email containing a survey asking parents what they should do to fix their transportation issues.

“We sent it out to everybody because some of the options for changes will impact every family in the district. So we wanted to get feedback from everyone,” said Assistant Superintendent Dede Frothingham.

This survey asked parents to rank the options the district provided. These options included a staggered start for school hours.

“The elementary school and the high school would start at 7:50 in the morning, we would run those routes, and then the buses would come back, pick up the middle schoolers, and then the middle school would start at 8:45. And then we flip flop that option,” said Frothingham.

The Belgrade mom said these staggered starts could cause more problems than they would fix.

“If you work at the middle school and you have a child in any Elementary, you have to figure out at least one hour of childcare every day per child,” she said. “I have two kids. That's a full day's salary in one week for childcare.”

Other options on the survey included revolving routes, no transportation within a 3-mile radius, and contracting for transportation activities.

“When buses take kids to field trips or to sporting events, having to go outside of the district and contract for that,” said Frothingham.

Belgrade schools have 26 bus routes currently, with 10 part-time employees, and three full availability employees. There needs to be around 35 routes. Their hourly rate starts at around $21.35.

Frothingham said these options have been discussed at board meetings for over a year. Over a thousand people have responded to the survey, which is open until January 16 at 5 PM. Frothingham said the options are subject to change.

“Absolutely. I mean what we're doing is looking for ideas and looking for ways to solve the problem,” said Frothingham.

The Belgrade mom thinks there are better choices outside of this survey.

“I just feel like there's got to be something better than what there is. And I think the best thing would be to go to a central drop station,” she said.