District 225 increases prices for school bus transportation routes

Illustration by: Kaitlin Day

Grace Shin, Staff Reporter

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The District 225 Board of Education has decided on a district-wide 3.7 percent increase of the bus transportation fees for the upcoming year during the last Board meeting on Feb. 9.

Due to the 3.7 increase will bring the prices up to $700 for early registrations between April 6 and June 5. This will allow the board to build a plan for the bus routes and determine how many buses would be needed. Registration after June 5 is $830.

“We had the prices of the buses held at the same level for about 5 years straight and with the increases in buses next year, the Board felt like they needed to invoke a slight increase, so that’s what they did,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Riggle said.

The increase was decided mainly because of the increasing numbers in ridership at South, according to Riggle and Hillarie Siena, Assistant Superintendent of business affairs.

“We have more riders next year, and with more riders, you have to add more buses, and sometimes, you have to split a route,” Riggle said. “So, if the bus is overcrowded, you have to add another bus. So, it’s really compensation to try to take care of all the riders, and that’s more expensive because it takes more buses.”

According to Principal Dr. Brian Wegley, another reason for the increase was the rise in prices at the bus companies.

“I know that [the prices] went up slightly, and they went up in response to cost,” Wegley said. “The Board does subsidize the bus travel through the district, but there’s a level of which they subsidize, so when the costs go up from the bus company, the costs go up to our families as well.”

The response to the increase has been positive and negative, some students and parents are unhappy with the increase, while others are more understanding. Freshman Hayden Goldspink rides the bus and claims the fees are overpriced. Sophomore Max Shapiro also rides the bus, and shares this opinion, saying that the prices should be at minimal cost.

“Some kids’ parents don’t have the time to drive them, and some people can’t afford the bus prices,” Shapiro said.

According to Wegley, the fees are increasing because the costs of the bus companies continue to increase.

“I think, at this point, the fees have increased simply because the costs have continued to go up, and the board is just trying to be responsive

to their own policy and philosophy,” Wegley said.

Wegley also said that the board tries to support the families that can’t afford the bus prices.

“[When] we do have a family who happens to be in a low income situation, [the bus fees are] something that is paid for by the district, so it doesn’t

impact a family who’s not in a position to support that, which I also think is thoughtful, and the right thing to do,” Wegley said.

Goldspink’s mother, Kristina Goldspink, also believes the current prices and the future prices are a little too high. She says that the board should have more flexibility and that there should be more options available for the parents to choose from.

Despite the student and parent opposition to the increase, there are some who recognize the need for the bus prices to go up.

“GBS is going to have more incoming students,” Manoj said. “So, it’s understandable that the prices would go up.”

Wegley also says the board has been attentive at trying to keep the prices at a steady level.

“Even though those costs have been going up or [down] every year, the board has held that steady,” Wegley said. “Especially through the economic downturn that started in about 2007, 2008, they’ve been really conscientious about that, and really held tight on the fees.”

Some of the public is unaware of the reasons behind the increase and the board’s efforts to keep the price stable, there are many students who see it as something negative. Manoj believes that even having the buses is something South students should be appreciative towards.

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