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Fox Chapel Area considering bus study for later class start

October 4, 2018

Fox Chapel Area might conduct a bus study to weigh the impact of later school start times.

Fox Chapel Area School Board on Monday night said it is considering a bus study related to a potential change in class start times.

The study would be conducted by a company named School Bus Consultants. Cost is expected to be $115,500.

Administration is reviewing results of a parent survey conducted in September that weighs the desire for later school start times.

The results of the survey will determine whether the discussion continues, and whether the bus study is necessary.

School officials said any change in start times would need to consider the impact on the district bus schedules.

Bonnie Berzonski, district coordinator of communications, said there are 4,800 students transported.

“This counts our own students as well as private and parochial school students,” she said.

If a bus study moves forward, Superintendent Gene Freeman said he wants to make certain that all of the district students who could ride buses are counted.

“We need to consider the number of students who could need to be on the bus, not just the number of kids who ride the bus now,” Freeman said.

Berzonski said there are students who drive to school every day as well as students who may be car riders.

“However, when we count students, we must count every student who could ride the bus,” she said.

This would be necessary in the event of an emergency as the district would be required to provide transportation for all students, she said.

An independent study by Transfinder conducted earlier this year explored the consequences of a change in bell times. Data included results of altering start times and shifting bus runs among the four elementary schools, Dorseyville Middle School and the high school. Results demand an additional six to 26 buses, depending on varying start times.

Results of the study are available on the district website , along with information provided by the high school PTO regarding implications of sleep.

High school students currently start their school day at 7:30 a.m.

The school board meets next at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at the high school.

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