By the time fall hits and the new school year arrives, some Clayton Elementary School students will have to find a different way to get to school. The Englewood School Board unanimously voted — …
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By the time fall hits and the new school year arrives, some Clayton Elementary School students will have to find a different way to get to school.
The Englewood School Board unanimously voted — except for board member Gary Manfre, who was absent — to discontinue the school bus service at a Jan. 21 meeting due to budgetary issues and a school bus driver shortage in the Denver metro area. Families who rely on the school bus route can continue to depend on the service until the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
By nixing the Clayton Elementary school bus service, Englewood Schools will be able to save $14,000 that it will reallocate toward required transportation services, including bus routes for Englewood High School, Englewood Middle School, Englewood Leadership Academy, Bishop Elementary School, Colorado’s Finest High School of Choice, special education students and foster care students.
“It’s just something that is indicative of the funding short falls that plague our state. Our schools are so underfunded that it makes it difficult to provide services that people depend on that we can no long support financially,” said Englewood Schools Superintendent Wendy Rubin.
Along with the funds, school bus drivers and buses from the Clayton Elementary route will be used for other routes in the school district. There are currently seven bus drivers for Englewood Schools, and the district is short two drivers. One of the drivers is retiring at the end of the school year, and it will cause Englewood Schools to be short three drivers next year, unless more are hired.
Englewood Schools board policy requires the school district to provide transportation to students who live more than one and a half miles from their schools. No Clayton Elementary students do live more than one and a half miles away, according to a Feb. 3 letter sent to Clayton Elementary parents from Kimberly DeHaven, transportation supervisor for Englewood Schools.
Last May, Clayton Elementary parents received a letter from DeHaven notifying them about the school district’s intentions to end the school’s bus route in the 2019-2020 school year. But after feedback, Englewood Schools ultimately decided to let the route ride out another year as it contemplated its next steps.
Julie McMorris, a spokesperson for Englewood Schools, said the school district has been transparent about the fact that it is discontinuing the bus route since last year, and since it shared that it was doing so, parents haven’t spoken out against the decision.
Some parents like Crystal Cannaday have come to rely on the bus route. Cannaday has her three children use the school bus, because she currently doesn’t have a vehicle, and it’s convenient for her.
“(I’m) going to have to stop and get up even earlier and get my kids ready before I go to work. I’m probably going to have to change my whole schedule at work, honestly,” said Cannaday. “It’s inconvenient, for sure.”
Currently, there are around 30 Clayton Elementary students who take the bus, McMorris said.
“We’re in the business of education, and I wish we had money to do everything. The reality we’re currently dealing with is a limited budget,” said Caty Husbands, president of the Englewood School Board.
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