Revere Public School (RPS) Superintendent Dianne Kelly last week sent out a communication to parents and students to clarify the RPS transportation policy for middle and high school students for the 2021/2022 school year.
Kelly said there was some confusion about changes to the transportation policy and only those high school students who live two miles or more from RHS or Seacoast are eligible for school transportation and only those middle school students who live one mile or more from their middle school are eligible for public school transportation.
“There are certain exceptions to this rule for students whose IEP requires transportation due to the nature of their learning needs,” said Kelly. “These changes are necessary because of a statewide shortage of bus drivers and the fact that more students are being dismissed at the same time at the end of the day than were when we had expanded learning time schools.”
On Tuesday, September 7th, students who were not registered to be on a school bus will not be allowed on the bus for transportation.
“Please be sure to make appropriate arrangements for your children,” said Kelly. “Many students who live within two miles of the high schools or who live within one mile of their middle school have options through the MBTA that could reduce their walking distances. Those students can pick up a Charlie Card from their assistant principal which allows them to take the bus at a reduced student rate. Caregivers and/or students will need to load funds onto the Charlie Card to activate it.”
Kelly added that when possible, and to promote exercise, students are encouraged by RPS to walk or ride their bikes to school and bike racks are available outside of each school.
“We understand that this policy change creates an inconvenience for some parents but we have no options given the current realities we face,” said Kelly. “We will continue to reassess and look at different options for the future.”
The decision to make changes to RPS transportation policy came about and was approved by the School Committee after a survey was sent home to parents in the summer.
“We did a survey of all of the parents of students who live more than a mile from school,” said Kelly. “So we surveyed the middle and high school students who live a mile greater from the school and that was over 2,200 families and a little over 1,200, or about 55 percent replied.”
Kelly said one option was to bus every student who lives a mile or more from their high or middle school. That would require RPS to add two more buses to the 25 buses the school department currently has on hand.
“We could bus everybody who lived one and a half miles or more, which we have enough buses to cover,” said Kelly. “A third option was to bus all of the middle school students who live more than a mile from school, but for the high school kids only bus the kids who live more than two miles from school, which again we have enough buses. The last option would be to only bus kids who live more than two miles from the school which would require only eight buses and again, we would not need to hire any additional buses.”
The recommendation that Kelly made and that School Committee Members like Stacey Rizzo supported, was to opt for the third option which RPS adopted for the school year. “This option ensures that the vast majority of our