MPS transportation update: Pierce and Milton High School buses oversubscribed
We are writing to share a Milton Public Schools transportation update.
On May 15th, we began the transportation registration process, which closed on June 14th. For the 2019-20 school year, 1424 Milton Public Schools students have registered for the bus. As of today, July 16th, 2019, all students who registered for a bus at Collicot, Glover, Cunningham and Tucker have been placed on a bus.
While the majority of students have been placed on Pierce/MHS buses, our Pierce and Milton High School bus routes are oversubscribed. Nine of the ten Pierce/MHS bus routes have waiting lists ranging from 4 to 22 students. Confirmation of bus ridership or placement on the waitlist for all students will be emailed later today (July 16), and bus assignments will be sent via USPS during the week of August 19th.
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 71, Section 68 requires free public transportation for students only if they are in grades K-6 and only if they live more than two miles from the school they are entitled to attend. The Milton Public Schools adheres to this policy and provides (free) busing for the students covered above and sells the additional seats to students on a first come, first served basis for a fee of $275 per student with a family cap of $550.
The School Committee received a transportation update at the July 10th School Committee meeting. That meeting can be watched On Demand at Milton Access TV (https://miltonaccesstv.org). Transportation is item 4C on the agenda.
We will be reevaluating ridership on a monthly basis and assigning additional students as warranted. In the interim, we have researched public transportation options for our students on the waitlist. The 240 (Randolph Ave) and 245 (Adams St to Edgehill Rd to Reedsdale Rd) MBTA bus routes could serve a majority of our waitlisted students. This is an option that some families on the waitlist may wish to consider. The MPS bus fee of $275 per student allows the school department to purchase monthly student MBTA passes and would also allow access to a shuttle between Pierce and MHS each morning and afternoon.
The Milton Public Schools pay approximately $71,000 per bus, per school year for each of the 10 buses we contract through our bus company, First Student. The revenue from bus ridership is approximately $245,000 falling far short of the total expense of $710,000. Contracting additional buses is not possible financially, as each bus would cost $71,000 with approximate revenue of $14,000 as this bus would serve only the Pierce/MHS route.
We know many families rely on bus transportation, and this is difficult news. If we were able to transport in a fiscally responsible manner every student who wanted transportation in Milton, we would absolutely do so. This is impossible without enormous expense to the Milton Public Schools and the taxpayers of Milton. We will continue to evaluate ridership and add riders when seats are available. While there may be some movement on the waitlist for each bus throughout the year, families on the waitlist should begin to make other plans for transportation for the 2019-20 school year.
Dr. Glenn Pavlicek, Assistant Superintendent for Business