FWCS cutting bus routes, creating no transportation zones

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Community Schools officials announced Monday night changes to how it will transport students to and from school.

Krista Stockman, FWCS spokesperson, said the district is facing a budget shortfall of $2.5 million annually. The shortfall has resulted in property tax caps. FWCS joins other school districts across the state that’s looking at making transportation cuts to make up for the lack of taxes being collected.

“That’s obviously going to have an effect on a lot of families, and so tonight what we want to do is just explain to them, to our families, exactly what’s going to happen,” said Stockman.

Changes will go into effect for the 2015-2016 school year.

Monday night school officials unveiled options they’re considering. Starting next school year, elementary school students living within a mile of their school won’t get bus service. Same thing for middle schoolers living within a mile and a half and high schoolers in a two-mile radius of their school. Also kids who are bused to a different school outside of their area that’s not a magnet school. Stockman says that alone will help cut $1.5M of the $2.5M they have to cut from the transportation budget next year. Officials say they’re also looking at the pros and cons of adjusting school hours and possibly outsourcing bus services.

“Start getting to know your neighbors a little bit better. Have a carpool plan in place,” FWCS parent Tarsha Bunch said.

“If there is a group of families in a neighborhood and they are all going to walk to school then maybe parents can take turns leading a walking group,” Stockman said.

School officials say they’ll send a letter home to parents next week with more specific information and how this will impact their child. There’s another meeting Tuesday night at 6 at Anthis for parents.

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