UPDATE: MAPS releases busing changes

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE: August 25, 1 p.m.
The list of bus routes for Marquette Area Public Schools has been released. To view the entire list, visit the Related Documents section of this story.

The Marquette Area Public Schools superintendent wrote a letter for parents and students Thursday afternoon about changes with busing for the upcoming school year.

The bus route schedule is set to be released Friday.

Superintendent Bill Saunders says transportation for K-5 students is essentially unchanged. For secondary students, buses will make fewer stops while picking up more students at each stop. The district calls them common or pocket stops.

Saunders says this change is being made because the district has seen a decline in ridership of students, so he asked the transportation department to spend less money.

Saunders says the district is sensitive to special needs or circumstances. Parents can contact the transportation office at 225-5774 or Saunders' office at 225-4200 with those concerns.

Below is the letter from Saunders:

Dear Parents and Students,

As some of you may have read or heard, MAPS has made some changes to transportation. For years we have seen a decline in ridership of students. Our buses, which are rated at 77 passengers, have been operating at less than 50% capacity on many routes. I tasked our transportation department this past spring to become more efficient. We were getting to the point where 18,32,33,34, and 36 students on a bus was not the most economical use of district resources.

To accomplish this task, transportation has expanded some routes for secondary students, 6th-12th grades. How will we accomplish this? Buses will make fewer stops while picking up more students at each stop. These are what we call common or pocket stops. MAPS has used common stops for years but we are expanding on this practice. The following are some additional facts for reference:

★ K-5 transportation is essentially unchanged

★ Common or Pocket stops have been used for years. We intend to incorporate more of this practice for our secondary students

★ We will cover the same geographical area we always have; we will just be reducing the number of stops within subdivisions and neighborhoods

★ Seldom, if ever, do we require students to cross a main thoroughfare. There are however students and families who have elected or requested to cross a main thoroughfare to shorten riding time

★ State law does not require the transportation of general education students. For school districts who elect to transport general education students, the law only requires that a school transport outside a 1 ½ mile radius. MAPS transports within a .25-.5 mile radius for K-5 students. (See more in the related documents section of this story)

★ Safe Routes to School document (See related documents)

★ Tips for walking safely to school or the bus stop (See related documents)

We are sensitive to special needs or circumstances. Please do not hesitate to contact transportation at 225-5774 or my office 225-4200 with those concerns.

William B. Saunders

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