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Plan to Expand Bus System Results in Change of School Start Times

February 12, 2018 07:27 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- It's no secret teenagers like to sleep in, and under a new proposal, they might get to.

“The idea that we're looking at is we take the existing public transportation system, improve it a little bit, add some additional buses and be able to provide coverage for the middle schools and high schools in Rochester. It would take the start time to 8:45 a.m.,” said City Council Member Michael Wojick.

School board and city leaders are looking to expand the city's bus system so all students can be picked up and attend school at the same time.

Rochester Public Schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz said, “One of the companies have enough buses or drivers to bus all of our kids at the same time so we have to run a two-tiered system.”

A study was conducted by an infrastructure engineering firm that determined what busing agreement would look like between the city and school district.

“We'll have to look at the results and see if it makes sense for both parties to enter into this partnership. I really see it as a win-win for everybody. It's an opportunity for us to get to a one-tiered system and get our secondary students to a later start,” Muñoz said.

The proposal would require 16 new routes and 22 new city buses to be added alongside 28 existing school buses.

But the cost of the proposal is still unclear. According to the city, it would cost about $840,000 in its first year, then about $940,000 by the fifth year.

“Phase two is really the important part of the study to determine the actual cost for this to happen and then what would our share of that agreement be, to have our students ride the buses,” Muñoz said.  

"I think we've got a real winner here and I think we're going to do something positive for the kids of Rochester," said Wojick.

Should this plan be accepted by the city and school district, it wouldn't begin until the 2019-20 school year.

Students who would ride the city bus would also be able to ride for free, anytime, helping those who need transportation during nights and weekends.

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Noelle Anderson

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