Growing student enrollment at Seymour Community Schools has led officials to make adjustments in transportation.
For the first time in years, the district has added a new bus route to handle the increase in the number of students riding the bus to school.
“Currently, buses are full, ride times are long and we had to make several changes in routes to make it work,” said Tim Fosbrink, director of transportation. “Due to an increase in ridership over the past several years, current growth and projected growth, it is time to add another route.”
The district has purchased a new bus and added a full-time driver. With the added route, there are a total of 36 routes and buses travel more than half a million miles a year, Fosbrink said.
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“We’re a growing school system and we have to address that,” he said. “We don’t have a choice.”
The new route will serve the Reddington area, bringing students to Seymour-Redding Elementary School and help with the greater number of high school students riding the bus, Fosbrink said.
“We’re jam packed with all the growth we’ve seen out in that area and along Burkart Boulevard and Martha’s Vineyard,” he said. “It’s not going to get any better. Honestly, we could add more routes, but that would increase our costs more.”
Transportation is funded through local property taxes.
Fosbrink hopes a growing community will mean more money for the transportation budget, but adding a route will hurt some, he said.
The transportation fund typically runs in the negative at some point during the year, but that is made up with general fund dollars.
Since 2012-13, student ridership has increased by 810 students, according to data provided by the transportation department.
Projections show an increase of 135 students riding the bus for a total of 4,400 in 2016-17 compared to the 4,265 riders last school year. There’s also been a steady decrease in the number of non-riders over the years.
Besides Seymour Community School students, the buses also transport 239 parochial students, with the majority being students of Immanuel Lutheran School.
Fosbrink said he is looking to hire additional people to serve as substitute drivers.
“We have been experiencing a driver shortage,” he said. “We have all of the routes filled, but we are in desperate need of sub drivers.”
To handle the addition of a new bus, the transportation department also is expanding it’s gravel bus parking area behind it’s facility at 1638 S. Walnut St. near the corporation’s central administration office.
Student ridership numbers for Seymour Community School Corp. transportation department