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home : latest news : latest news January 25, 2015

8/14/2013 9:51:00 AM
Parents unhappy with 3-hour roundtrip school bus rides; district has solution
HUSD sorts out bus challenges
Humboldt Unified School District mechanic Art Ramirez walks the bus line to take one into the bus barn garage for maintenance Tuesday afternoon in Prescott Valley. HUSD maintains 68 buses.
TribPhoto/Cheryl Hartz
Humboldt Unified School District mechanic Art Ramirez walks the bus line to take one into the bus barn garage for maintenance Tuesday afternoon in Prescott Valley. HUSD maintains 68 buses.
TribPhoto/Cheryl Hartz

Sue Tone

Amber Schaffer's children have been riding the school bus from StoneRidge, on the west end of Prescott Valley, to Bradshaw Mountain Middle School, in Dewey, for years. It takes about an hour each way.

So she was shocked to learn on the Friday before school started that Bus Route 99-7 had a first pick-up time of 5:38 a.m. arriving at BMMS at 7:15, 1 hour 37 minutes - and 47 stops - later. The return route doubled the daily commute for a total of three-and-a-quarter hours.

Schaffer said that is too long for her 12-year-old and other students to spend traveling to and from school.

"Luckily, I can drive my son. But not everyone can do that," Schaffer said.

Dan Streeter, director of Human Resources for the Humboldt Unified School District, said the district, in its efforts to conserve fuel costs, worked during the summer to consolidate routes and improve bus occupancy rates.

Currently, the route begins at StoneRidge, but travels to the back (north side) of Prescott Valley picking up students along Saddleback, Cattlemen and Hondo drives, and down Robert Road on its way to the school.

This week, Director of Transportation Kim Porter is working on splitting Bus Route 99-7 into two separate routes.

"We've set a standard we need to follow with bus routes," Streeter said Monday morning. "No student should be on the bus for more than one hour. The only exception is to go to the outlying boundaries of the district. StoneRidge is not one of those."

He said Porter is working to split the route to reduce the amount of time the students are spending on the bus to less than an hour. That should be accomplished mid week. The district likes to have three days to communicate to parents any schedule changes, and the new route most likely will begin Monday, Aug. 19.

Streeter also confirmed a favorable resolution of a unique situation in Dewey-Humboldt where a parent new to the district was physically unable to walk her 7-year-old, a third-grader, to the bus stop about a half-mile away.

The district learned the Town of Dewey-Humboldt recently paved that stretch of hilly road. The bus also is able to turn around near the home, a short distance away on a dirt side road.

Related Stories:
• Bus rider eligibility not a factor in HUSD transportation revenues

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Lisa Szenina

3 hours? I would be glad for 3 hours. After the change this year we have to leave for the bus stop at 5am and my son can look forward to a 5 hour round trip. The person at the "bus barn" that I spoke to suggested he sleep on the way to school. It is hard, but we are putting in 100 miles per day to take him and pick him up. It's ridiculous.

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned parent

If you really want an eye opener, check the online sex offender's addresses with the school bus stops! I did and found my Bradshaw Mt Middle School bus stop was right in front of a sex offender's home along with the stop for the elementary school. I got my bus stop changed!

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Charter Schools???

Apparently you missed this news flash, it happened pretty fast and is not readily viewable many other places. But HUSD clearly has transferred several of its schools to charters. And those charter school students are using district school transportation. There IS a question of public use of funds now. Please do your homework.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: justa gal in PV

to @charter schools...
please check your facts first
then get ticked off...seems to me
if you open your mouth first
well you often find a foot in it....
no matter your point...

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: Charter Schools???

Did you read the article at all? The only school mentioned in this article is Bradshaw Mountain Middle School, which is NOT a charter school. Every charter school has their own buses and don't use Humboldt or Prescott school district buses. Next time before you jump into something like that, try reading the article first.

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Will G

Easy fix hire more bus drivers.

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Charter Schools???

Wait a moment.... aren't some of these schools in Prescott Valley now CHARTER SCHOOLS? As per Arizona law, charter schools do not receive funding for transportation. How are the kids legally riding a district funded bus as a transportation source to a charter school? It seems to me that there is some fiscal finagling going on here. And the kids are the pawns of this complex game that is blending charter school law with district law hence taxpayer money with legislative dollars. Is anyone looking into this? Which bus service is taking kids to the CHARTER SCHOOLS?

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