As the School Board inches closer to transitioning fifth graders into the Middle School system, the board’s most recent meeting on Nov. 28 took some time to expand upon what this would mean for bus routes and schedules, as well as vote on pushing forward with these changes into the transition proposal.
Jane Simard, who handled the majority of the information concerning the bussing changes alongside Superintendent Dr. MaryAnn Connors, noted that throughout the rerouting process, the one major concerns lies around whether or not an additional bus will be needed for the district.
Considering that getting a new bus for the district would run it around fifty eight thousand dollars, School Board Chair Dan McKenna asked Simard whether or not Simard was certain that they did not need a new bus. Simard noted that she is not certain as of yet and will have to work with the district’s bus company before she has a definitive answer.
Simard also noted that the district is looking into adopting new software that would help reroute the buses in a smoother fashion and make current routes more efficient. She is expecting the district to receive this software sometime this winter. Other than that, however, the process of rerouting is going mostly smoothly, with the exception of Derry Village due to how housing is spread out.
Upon questioning Connors and Simard about the matter, Board Member Derick Anderson asked what would be the alternative if rerouting was not considered, to which he was told that the district would have to let go of two teachers.
Lynn Perkins, who noted that he has been advocating on this matter for a year and a half, was curious about how long it took Connors and Simard to come up with their plan. The two noted that it took them roughly two days to put together.
McKenna asked if there were any parents who raised concerns over the rerouting, but Connors quickly shot that concern down by noting that even after alerting parents to the change, only one call, a positive one at that, came to her office about the matter.
“I did not hear a single concern that was brought to me,” Connors said
Finally, Vice Chair Brenda Willis gave a more positive take on the process, commending Connors and Simard for their work, in particular their efforts to keep students transitioning from Derry Village School in the same middle schools.
After a quick discussion, the board unanimously approved the bussing changes to the transition proposal.