In the ongoing debate over how much funding the city of Fall River will provide to the public school system in terms of school transportation for fiscal year 2020, the idea of bus tiering has been tossed around.
Currently, the placeholder number for transportation line items in the Fall River Public School System is 11.9 million - roughly 2 million dollars more than expected.
Ken Pacheco, the Chief Operating Officer for Fall River Public Schools explained the concept of tiering buses, “tiering means, for example, ‘bus A’ would go to Spencer Borden School and when finished head to the next school to perform another route.”
He continued, “basically that means some buses would serve two schools rather than have two separate buses it would be the same bus one at at time. The bus company would already be paying a mobilized vehicle. They wouldn’t have to pay another drive or monitor.”
This is just one concept being discussed in the wake of last weeks mandated joint-session of both the city council and school committee when it was revealed that as of now, the debt exclusion for the new B.M.C Durfee High School will begin in fiscal year 2020, not 2023 as originally proposed. That number is being discussed as a placeholder for now but could become part of the 2020 fiscal budget if the transportation line item number remains.
“We’re transporting about half the population of Fall River public school students between our own and the S.R.T.A buses,” Pacheco said. Suggestions have risen in the last week of starting this bidding process over again to negotiate to a better number.
Pacheco said there is still time if administrators wish to do it, “It’s not an ideal but we'll do what we have to do. I understand the gripe, it’s a lot of money for a city that has to count it’s pennies.. Fall River knows this is big dollars. We'll make it work with whatever is decided and hope for the best.”