Clients in the News - Eanes ISD
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Changes in Eanes ISD transportation save money during tough budget season
Community Impact Newspaper
Lake Travis/Westlake Edition, TX
By Taylor Short
September 9, 2011
WESTLAKE — The $2.3 million purchase was funded by grants from the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is one of the latest cost-saving and revenue-earning measures in transportation the district has enacted in the last year.
Eanes ISD Director of Transportation Tim Wysong said the new buses would result in about 11 fewer tons of harmful emissions being released near children and into the atmosphere.
“We’re excited about it because it’s the right thing to do from an ecological standpoint, and it’s certainly a plus on the financial side,” he said.
The district also recently revised bus routes, eliminating some stops and consolidating others, and rolled out a school bus advertising campaign March 10th. Together, the initiatives could result in more than $100,000 in savings per year.
“With $4 million in reduced state funding this year, it is imperative that we look at any cost savings and revenue generation we can find,” Eanes ISD Superintendent Nola Wellman said.
Wysong said the consolidation of routes reduced ride times by an average of seven minutes. Using guidelines that restrict the distance students must walk to 1,500 feet from their homes, he said stops were positioned to be convenient to as many people in an area as possible.
“If you compare that to most districts, their guidelines are a quarter- to a half-mile,” he said. “If you look at virtually any district in the region, we have the most friendly walk-to-stop guidelines.”
The change also updates fees for field trips. The current fee of $1.60 per mile, which has not been increased in about 15 years, only covers fuels costs today. Drivers will now be paid about $17 an hour.
Postcards with new route assignments were mailed August 15th to parents and guardians of students registered to ride.
Also, name badges, including bus numbers, were printed August 18th for students in kindergarten through second grade to help keep them on the correct bus.
“When students register for class, they also register to ride, if they so choose. We’re updating this list literally by the day,” Wysong said. “The Transfinder is always the most current thing, and we update it on virtually a daily basis.”
Transfinder is an online system where parents and students can find a bus route using their address in a search engine.
The roughly 112 routes are being test-driven, Wysong said, and more than 7,000 students—up 300 from last year—are registered to ride.
“I think people are realizing more and more the value of riding the bus,” he said.
To view routes near your home using the Transfinder, visit www.eanes.k12.tx.us and click “Bus routes.”