During the summer, FHSD dropped its contract with First Student, a busing organization providing transportation for Francis Howell for about 30 years.
The district decided two move to provide transportation by the district itself, instead of using a separate company.
The reason for the change was cost, as it is cheaper in the long run to have independent transportation. With this change, the district bought a new fleet of 170 new buses, along with 21 used buses, all in good condition, and changed bus routes.
“It’s hard to compare cost, as we must wait till the end of the year to truly find out the real cost of it all,” Jennifer Simpson, head of transportation for the district, said. “The goal is to break even in the first few years, and eventually lower costs.”
With this change came a few problems, such as a rule stating that bus stops must be 500 yards apart. Due to this, some students have to walk further than past years to their stops.
Along with this, the district was short on drivers and monitors, which led to some students not having stops when school started.
“Buses get to school a lot later than they did last year,” said sophomore Haley King. “My bus gets to school at like 7:15, when class starts at 7:20.”
Administrators say that there were some problems with bus times at the beginning of the year but most have been resolved at this point. The estimated time for bus arrival is at 7:06 a.m. Parents can fill out forms for alternative bus routes and turn them into the school or call the transportation office for any remaining questions or problems.
“So far, we are doing the best we can,” Lisa Spravale, a bus driver, said. “The people I answer to, my bosses, they’re doing a great job. At the end of the day, we have a job which is getting students to school and home safely.”