A new transportation plan approved by the school board last night will save about $1.2 million, and will eliminate the jobs of as many as 40 bus drivers.
As a result, many local parents and their children will have to change morning and evening schedules and routines to accommodate shifts in bus pickup and drop off times.
According to the Carroll County Times, the divided vote passed last night. Board President Jennifer Seidel and board members Gary Bauer and Virginia Harrison voted in favor; Cynthia Foley voted against; and Vice President Barbara Shreeve abstained.
The new transportation plan, designed to save the county money starting in fiscal year 2013, means bus drivers will have to take on more routes, requiring schools to adjust start and end times.
School Superintendent Steve Guthrie told Patch that the decision to move forward with the plan was a difficult one.
"Any decision made that disrupts the established routines of families in Carroll County is difficult, even if the result is significant savings to the school system," Guthrie said. "It is not only the elected board's responsibility to ensure that our school system operates in an effective and efficient manner, they also have to reflect and be responsive to the concerns of our community."
Guthrie said that community feedback was about 50 percent supporting the transportation efficiency plan, and 50 percent not supporting the idea.
"Therefore, regardless of their vote, parents were going to be upset, which makes the vote even more difficult," Guthrie said.
Some community members voiced concerns about bus drivers losing their jobs. Guthrie told Patch that the elected board members will not have any role in the process to reduce buses.
"That task will be handled by our transportation department over the next year," Guthrie said. "We were waiting for board approval of the budget reduction associated with the changes to meet with the bus contractors about the changes. Now that approval was given, we will work with bus contractors to address their concerns and work to reduce 40 buses in the most fair manner possible."