Leander ISD discusses delaying new hazardous bus routes formula for 2020-21

(Courtesy Fotolia)
(Courtesy Fotolia)

(Courtesy Fotolia)



Leander ISD’s board of trustees at its last meeting discussed the possibility of delaying the enactment of the new hazardous bus routes formula.

Consequently, trustees also discussed the financial implications of adding bus routes to the proposed 2020-21 budget—currently $21,000,327 over projected revenue—and the added stress on bus transportation if social distancing is implemented on buses.

The new formula—scheduled to be voted upon at the trustees’ June 18 meeting—would make 18 LISD bus routes within 2 miles of campuses no longer eligible to receive bus service in August.

At their June 11 agenda review meeting, trustees brought up the idea of delaying the routes' implementation. They cited the uncertainty of the upcoming school year and the added stress that the new hazardous routes matrix could create for LISD families.


“There are so many unknowns,” trustee Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia said. “If we can mitigate some of the unknowns for our students and our families, why not consider those?”

LISD students who live 2 or more miles from campus qualify for bus transportation. Those who live less than 2 miles from their campus must provide their own transportation unless their route to school is graded as hazardous. In those cases, students are eligible for bus transportation.

Since October 2018, LISD’s Hazardous Routes Committee has been working on a new formula. The 15-member group, composed of LISD staff and community volunteers, has introduced at least three versions of the new matrix, each less stringent than the previous one.

The last scheduled vote in May was delayed after parents along two ineligible routes provided proof that their routes were eligible.

As a result, the hazardous routes vote was delayed until June so Area Superintendent John Graham and staff could double-check other ineligible routes.

At the June 11 online meeting, Graham said staff found six additional routes that were incorrectly deemed ineligible to receive bus transportation. Of the 42 routes being discussed for 2020-21, 24 are now eligible, and 18 are not eligible.

Trustee Jim Mackay suggested tabling the new matrix until the 2020-21 school year comes into focus.

“We have no idea at this moment what next year is going to look like.” Mackay said. “I would be very agreeable to tabling this hazardous routes implementation until we figure out what the fall is going to look like."

Trustees also wondered how LISD—which is facing a bus driver shortage—would accommodate the ineligible routes, especially if the district resumes on-campus learning but with social distancing.

“If we have to reduce capacities on buses, how do we do that if we increase the routes?” asked trustee Elexis Grimes.

Due to changing hazards, such as building and road construction, LISD annually assesses routes within the 2-mile radius.

The June 18 meeting is scheduled to begin online at 6:15 p.m. on the district’s YouTube page. Citizens wishing to comment must register online from 5:30-6 p.m. on the day of the meeting.


MOST RECENT

Susan Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. (Courtesy American Medical Association)
'I am convinced we will beat COVID': American Medical Association President Susan Bailey discusses vaccine successes, myths, challenges

Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. Much of the organization's focus during that time has been on vaccine transparency and distribution.

Pfizer vaccines could become available to kids 12 and up as soon as next week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock/Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
FDA expands Pfizer vaccine authorization to children ages 12 to 15 years old

This is the first time people under the age of 16 have been granted access to a coronavirus vaccine.

Here is what you need to know today about COVID-19 in Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Nearly 60% of Williamson County residents have received one dose, plus more COVID-19 news

Here is what you need to know today about COVID-19 in Williamson County.

Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopened to the public in April. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopens in Austin; turf fields open in Pflugerville and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

shaved ice trailer
Hawaiian shaved ice trailer opening in Cedar Park

LocoSnoCo will open June 26 in Cedar Park.

Heather Sánchez
Leander ISD hires new area superintendent

Heather Sánchez will be a new area superintendent at Leander ISD.

Jeremiah's
Jeremiah's Italian Ice now open in Cedar Park

The shop sells gelato, Italian ice and soft ice cream treats.

Wag-A-Bag is headquartered in Round Rock. (Megan Cardona/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wag-A-Bag to operate under new ownership, name; Austin, TxDOT at odds over I-35 overhaul; and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Austin area.

bagdad road leander
New Leander transportation plan outlines $320 million in road projects over 10 years

The plan lays out a few projects for the city to consider each year.

Road closure stock image
TxDOT to demolish I-35 ramp in North Austin early Saturday morning

State crews will perform controlled implosions of the northbound I-35 to northbound US 183 flyover between 6-8 a.m. in the morning on May 8 and May 15.

Leander ISD admin building
Leander ISD board approves 2% raise for district staff in 2021-22 school year

If financial parameters are met, the increase could be raised to 3% or additional one-time stipends could be approved in the future.