More Guilford school buses running on time

Jan. 25—GUILFORD COUNTY — A change made at the start of the current school year in how Guilford County Schools places bus stops has contributed to a jump in the percentage of buses running on time, school officials said.

Buses previously were on time only about 70% of the time, often because they made frequent stops that were close together, so GCS officials studied how other large school systems across the state and in other states determined where buses should stop, Michelle Reed, the chief operations officer for GCS, told the policy committee of the Guilford County Board of Education on Tuesday.

The goal this year was to create "community stops" that were no closer than two-tenths of a mile to any other stop but still convenient to all students — within three-tenths of a mile of any elementary school student's home and a half mile of any middle or high school student's home, Reed said.

Buses this year have been running on time about 85% of the time, she said.

The policy committee reviewed a new proposed policy on student transportation services that, among other things, would formally adopt the bus stop placement methods used this year. The committee forwarded the proposed policy to the full school board for consideration at its meeting Feb. 7.

The committee also forwarded a number of other policy revisions to the full board — dealing with magnet or option schools, school admission, school assignment, and energy and resource conservation.

Rebecca Kaye, senior adviser to Superintendent Whitney Oakley, told the committee that most of the changes were technical in nature or involved wording changes for clarity.

The proposed energy and resource conservation policy revisions add a number of broad objectives — such as decreasing waste through recycling and trying to use more renewable energy sources such as solar power — but without specific targets. For instance, the objective seeking to use more renewable energy states that it should be done "to the extent feasible."

Kaye said broad language is intended to provide the district with flexibility in the face of likely budget constraints.

"We're trying to be judicious in the language so we don't lock ourselves in," she said.