Wake County Schools

Wake school board mulls rerouting buses to save $10M

Posted February 7, 2012

School Bus

— The Wake County school board considered a proposal from district staff Tuesday that would change bus routes to increase efficiency and cut costs by as much as $10 million.

The idea does have some setbacks, though. It would change arrival and dismissal times at many schools, in some cases by nearly as much as one hour.

Under the proposed bus route changes, district staff said more than 100 buses would be taken off the street, cutting down on fuel and maintenance costs. The district would cut back on the number of tiered bus routes, lengthen bus runs and increase the number of students on each run. 

Broughton High School in Raleigh would start 40 minutes earlier if the proposal gets approved. Holly Springs Elementary School would dismiss students nearly an hour later, around 4 p.m.

School Board Chair Kevin Hill said the changes may seem drastic, but they could allow the district to do more with less in tough budget times.

"There were at least two (schools) that were going to be impacted by over an hour by the bell change if we go that way," Hill said. "But, if there is an opportunity to align bell schedules with more effective study by high school kids and elementary schools and save $10 million, I mean, it is a tight economy."

Jay Cornish, a father of five, said the move would cost his family a lot of money in childcare and transportation. 

Bus rerouting, assignment plan concern parents Bus rerouting, assignment plan concern parents

Student assignment remains hot topic

Another hot topic at Tuesday's board meeting was the district's new choice-based student assignment plan. Many parents who have begun using the plan said they don't like their options. 

Sally Wooten wants her twins to attend Daniels Middle School because they live within walking distance, but under the new plan she isn't sure they will end up there. 

"My heart aches for them because I know they are truly worried and scared about going to school with absolutely no one they know," Wooten said. 

Jeff Cobb said his family lives close to Millbrook High School, but his choices for schools don't look good. 

"You lose confidence in families when you do not have specific answers," Cobb said.

Superintendent Tony Tata said there are capacity concerns with few seats available at some schools and a long list of students who want in. 

"I am personally talking to principals, saying 'What can you take here because you have demand or you don't have demand,'" Tata said. 

Board sells surplus property

The board also on Tuesday approved the $2.6 million sale of 10 acres of land and more than 24,000 square-feet of office, bus repair and warehouse space located at its Central Services location off of Noble Road in Raleigh.

The bid could be upset if a higher offer comes in. 

The board declared the property as surplus in November 2010.


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  • lafillard Feb 9, 2012

    They changed it to say it will say 6 million today. That's a pretty big math error. interesting.
    1/4 of the schools will have a DRASTIC change (about an hour later start and end!). This is a huge hardship for employees and parents who have arranged childcare around this schedule. . . We chose daycares that could accomodate our schedule. Are we supposed to change our child's daycare now, or pay extra every day for late pick-up/early drop-off? And what about the elementary kids who have after-school tutoring and activities? These kids are going to get home at 5 at the earliest! Some kids will be on the bus well after dark. I don't want my elementary age child on a bus after dark!!!! And I don't want my child to miss out on extra-curricular activities because they are getting out of school so late!! This may not drastically affect the majority, but for those that it does drastically affect, this is HUGE!!!

  • GotSome Feb 9, 2012

    Ah, Lake Woebegone, so we might have to adjust our schedules to save WCPSS some money? You might have to get up a little earlier, or heaven forbid, start a whole 10 minutes later? How terrible, yet have they raised your taxes, while year after year our schools have suffered terrible cuts in programs and lost hundreds of teachers? Grow up, Wake County.

  • nancyjacobs58 Feb 9, 2012

    What are you folks on the school board thinking? Maybe you should have to get up an hour earlier to go to work and spend an extra hour or more getting home. There is hardly enough time to study now because kids get on the bus before the sun comes up and get home around the 4:00 hour, they need a few minutes to unwind before starting the homework, having dinner and the getting ready for bed to get up before the Chickens and start the routine all over again. Maybe the members of the school board should try living the schedule before implementing it for the students. I don't care how much money you save, what happens when the kids get burnt out with a scheduled routine they are expected to follow each day.

  • Remy Feb 9, 2012

    "If you are going to have a "choice" plan, you need to make sure you don't change critical variables after the "choices" have been made.

    I cannot "chose" a magnet school now and that's my only option to get an early start.

    This is crazy!"

    Unfortunately this is what we get when the board rushes the plan.

  • leeandkaren24 Feb 9, 2012

    I would take leaving the schedules as they are and having to transport my kid to school any day. The proposal would have my kids starting almost 2 hours later!! This is huge and comes after the magnet "choice" period is closed. If I would have known the hours were going to be changed, I would have "chosen" a completely different school.

    If you are going to have a "choice" plan, you need to make sure you don't change critical variables after the "choices" have been made.

    I cannot "chose" a magnet school now and that's my only option to get an early start.

    This is crazy!

  • beaupeep Feb 8, 2012


    Earlier I quoted some facts about this transportation. I agree that some of it is quite necessary, but there is A LOT of abuse as well. Seems that if you simply "act up" enough on the bus you get private transportation. To me, that should mean your feet or the back seat of Daddy's car (leaning over 'cuz you're too sore to sit), not a limo ride.

    These companies are also making 33 bucks per kid per day.

  • piene2 Feb 8, 2012

    "How about this, Get rid of the buses. Have the parents get the kids to school. Let the onus truly fall on the deserved. Then the mother of invention will be quick to start a co-op bus using low cost buses from WCPSS. I am a genius

    I love your screen name.

  • bombayrunner Feb 8, 2012


    those are owned by private companies. And they take special needs children to the schools they need to attend. if these children were on the regular bus they'd be easy prey.

  • bombayrunner Feb 8, 2012

    bad idea ... kids on the bus for an extended period. Its like nothing ever good happens after midnight. Nothing good ever comes from kids on the bus for along time. they hate it, it sets a bad tone.

  • Rebelyell55 Feb 8, 2012

    February 8, 2012 5:03 p.m.... Take a moment to read the NC state constitution. Now, it does not say we have to bus them or get them to school, since many, many, years ago the state didn't do this. It just said we'll educate them.