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School district eyes bussing as part of cost-cutting measures

Board of education seeks input from residents

Bussing services offered by the Northeastern Clinton Central School District are among things under scrutiny by the board of education as the district looks for way to save money in the next fiscal year.

Bussing services offered by the Northeastern Clinton Central School District are among things under scrutiny by the board of education as the district looks for way to save money in the next fiscal year. Amanda Harvey

— However, the most widely-discussed aspect of the board’s conversations, said Turner, has been potential changes to the district’s transportation department. The board has begun exploring ways to make transportation more efficient, he added, including having drivers take on additional responsibilities.

“Currently, a bus driver makes one trip a day,” said Turner. “We’re looking at having them make two a day, but that would require negotiations with the union.”

That option isn’t necessarily a feasible one, said Turner, but one the board will examine nevertheless.

“We’re looking at everything,” he said.

The board will also examine current bus routes to see where, if at all, stops may be consolidated or eliminated altogether, particularly at the elementary school level, said Turner. Ultimately, a decision would be better formulated with input from those who have children within the school district, he added.

“We’d like to have community feedback,” said Turner, “because it could be that we’d do a combination of things, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We don’t know. It’s all preliminary. We need people to weigh in.”

What the community has already begun to weigh in on, said Turner, has been the board’s discussion of contracting with a private firm for bussing services versus the current method of utilizing drivers that are employees of the school district. Though no decisions have been made, only investigating the possibility has already raised red flags in the community, said the superintendent.

“We had a relative of a bus driver just today ask our board president if it was true the bus drivers are going to lose their jobs in December,” said Turner. “That is just purely bizarre. We’re only in the initial stage of looking at this ... The reality is it may never happen.”

Board of education president Dan Letourneau echoed statements by the superintendent in saying the examination of district bussing is only preliminary and does not signify a change is set in stone.

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