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School Transportation Explains Small Changes Due to Bridge Replacement
(by Don Meador, Allen County Schools)
 

   The start of school on August 7 will see 40 Allen County School buses return to the highways and byways of Allen County. As the bus drivers start on a journey that will see the buses travel approximately 2,300 miles per day---and almost 450,000 miles per year--- Allen County Schools Director of Transportation Roger Weaver notes that few changes will be seen this year overall. However, current bus routes will be affected by the bridge replacement project underway on West Bays Fork creek at the intersection of the Old Hartsville Road and the Old Gallatin Road.

   “The bridge replacement will directly affect three routes,” explained Weaver. “It will affect bus 21’s route, bus 24’s and bus 59’s route. It could also affect some of the routes of the special needs buses but that remains to be seen.”

   Weaver noted that plans are in place to re-route each bus once the current bridge is removed, a process that will require the closing the Old Gallatin Road for a time. 

   “As far as bus 21, we believe we can start the route on the Old Hartsville Road side of the bridge and come around by White Plains,” Weaver said. “We’ll just have to have another bus pick up on 980 from the red light (at 980 and Old Gallatin Road) to the BP station near the new 31-E. Everything else on bus 21’s route should be about the same and times should be about the same.” 

   “For bus 24, it’s going to be a little different,” Weaver added. “The driver makes two rounds in the morning and two rounds in the afternoon. In the morning’s, the round will be the same as last year. He’ll go over to Maple Street and around by the Judicial Center and then brings the students to school. Then his second round, he’ll go back to Oliver Street and Indian Hills. So he will take a right from school and pick up as usual. However, in the afternoon, he will take the first students home---by Maple Street and the Law Enforcement Center, and then come back to pick up at the Intermediate Center and Primary Center. He will then have to drop off on Oliver Street and Indian Hills areas and then he’ll have to circle back onto the New Gallatin Road and down 980 back to the Maple Street area. So, in the afternoons, kids on the town side of the bridge will get home about 10 minutes later than they normally would.”

   “Bus 59 is an overflow bus for Intermediate Center children that runs in the afternoons and picks up overflow from bus 5 and bus 1,” Weaver said. “The driver will go uptown first and ten have to circle back on 980, by White Plains and drop off children behind the ball park in the subdivision. The kids in the subdivision will get home five or 10 minutes later.”

   Weaver adds that the only other issues surrounding the Bridge replacement will be minor. Buses that currently come into and leave town on the Old Hartsville Road will simply come through the White Plains area rather than by 980. 

   “It’s not going to be that bad,” Weaver said. “They (construction officials) are telling me that it will take 45 days for the bridge replacement but we will see. It may be longer. Of course, the paving work that’s been going on should be done by the start of school.”

   The Allen County School’s transportation department will continue to follow policy and procedure when it comes to pick-up and drop off with this year including a change when it comes to preschool kids. 

   “At the state conference this year, it was stressed that our preschool monitors are required to get off the bus and help a preschooler on and off the bus and even across the street if needed,” Weaver noted.

   Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to walk with their child to the bus stop each morning and remain with them until the bus has arrived. In the afternoon, the bus drivers have strict guidelines as to dropping kids off. 

   “Like it has been in the past, we need children at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled pick up time,” Weaver said. “Parents are concerned when it’s very cold or pouring down rain about getting their child out under those conditions so we will use common sense under those conditions. We don’t want a child to get sick. In the afternoons, if it’s a preschool or Primary Center student, we must see a parent or guardian or someone the driver recognizes out there or in sight to receive the child. If we don’t see someone, we cannot drop the child off. Our policy states that we have to bring them back to school or parents have to arrange to pick them up.”  

   If a bus driver finds no one at home, the driver will have a procedure to follow. If the bus returns to the bus compound in Scottsville and passes back by the home on the trip back to town, the driver will make a second attempt to drop off the child. If no one is still at home, the driver will bring the child back to school. If the bus does not pass back by the residence, the driver will bring the child back to the school on their return to the compound. School officials will hold the child until the parent/guardian arrives. 

   For drivers who do not return the bus to the compound at night, a designated rendezvous point and time can be arranged---arraignment made after the school makes contact with the parent’s child or guardian. If the parent/guardian is available at the rendezvous point, the child is released to their parent or guardian. If the parent/guardian is not at the designated point at the designated time, the driver will return the child to the school where the child will remain until the parent or guardian arrives at the school.

   Weaver points out that parents and guardians should make every effort to be at home to receive the child as well as keep their child on a consistent schedule each day. If a child has to ride a different bus in the afternoon, the parent must contact the child’s school by 1:30. A note is prepared for the student to give to the bus driver. If a student does not have a bus note, he or she must ride their regularly scheduled bus.  

   The school district attempts to be as consistent as possible not only for afternoon drop-offs but morning pickups. Buses are normally within a minute of their pickup time each morning.

   “It will take us a week and a half or maybe two weeks to get our times ironed out because drivers will have to adjust times based on new riders but after that, the time will be very consistent.”

   Weaver explains that children preparing to get on the bus each morning should be focused on boarding the bus and not distracted by other children or electronic devices. In the afternoons, children should exit the bus and move quickly to the driveway.   

   “If a child has to cross the road to board the bus, make sure the child knows to make eye contact and wait for a signal from the driver to cross the road,” Weaver noted.   

   Motorists are advised to be attentive as the buses return to the streets and never pass a bus when the bus is unloading or loading children---not just on highways but in all parking lots as well. Motorists should also make a “mental note” that buses will be back on the roads. Allen County buses run routes from approximately 6 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. during the morning and from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon, Monday through Friday every day that school is in session.

   “We run buses on almost every road in the county so you could see a bus stopped anywhere,” Weaver explained. “Drivers need to be cautious.”

    All students in the District receive a yellow handout outlining the rules and regulation regarding transportation. The pamphlet is to be carefully reviewed by the parent/guardian with the child, signed by the parents, and returned to school. 

   “The pamphlets have a list of all the rules and a list of the consequences if you don’t follow the rules,” Weaver said. “I hope the kids realize that if they are acting up on a bus, that’s a distraction for the driver and a safety concern.”

   The handout also contains safety tips including reminders about backpacks and drawstrings. Parents are reminded to get a backpack apportioned to their child’s height and to also make sure that all drawstrings on backpacks and coats are secure and cannot catch on bus doors.

   Buses began arriving on the school campus around 7 each morning to start the unloading process. In the afternoon, the schools will dismiss and load buses the same way as when the school year ended in May. Students first load at the James E. Bazzell Middle School, then the Allen County-Scottsville High School, followed by the Allen County Intermediate Center with the Allen County Primary Center being the last location to load.  

   Allen County bus drivers are continually reviewing safety procedures and undergoing training each year. 

   “Our drivers have to do an eight-hour in-service every year and pass a physical every year,” Weaver said. “To become a bus driver, someone has to have 33 hours of classroom and driving training plus passing a driver’s test. It’s no easy task to become a driver.” 

   Officers with the Scottsville Police Department, Allen County Sheriff’s Office, and Allen County constables will be stationed on the New Gallatin Road to direct drop-off traffic in the mornings and pick-up traffic in the afternoon. The school zones have a 25-mph speed limit---with flashing warning lights---during the posted time frame. The drop-off and pick-up traffic patterns remain the same for all schools as when school ended in May. Motorists on the school campus---at any time--- are reminded to observe the posted 15-mph speed limits. 

   Parents or guardians who are unsure of what bus their child will ride, the driver, the approximate pick up or drop off times, or have additional questions, can call Weaver at the Allen County Board of Education at 270-618-3181.  

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Allen County Board of Education
570 Oliver Street, Scottsville, KY
Phone: (270) 618-3181
Fax: (270) 618-3185
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Allen County Schools
570 Oliver Street
Scottsville, KY

Call 270-618-3181
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