BRYAN, Texas—Some big changes coming soon for the Bryan Independent School District.
School district officials outlined a proposed plan to the Board of Trustees on Monday to improve transportation issues that plagued the district at the start of the school year.
“We heard loud and clear it was a rocky start to school and we agreed that it was not the best start for kids,” said Brandon Webb, BISD Communications Director.
The plan includes eliminating the hub system and changing start and dismissal times at campuses across the district.
Along with the input of an in-district team, the district hired a consultant to look at the transportation problems and recommend solutions.
One of those solutions is to eliminate the transfer hub system and adopt the home-to-school and school-to-home transportation model, meaning students will leave from a bus stop close to their home and transported directly to their campus.
The hub system created problems at the start of the year where many children were arriving to school late or getting home hours after the scheduled drop-off time.
The consultant observed the district relied on the transfer hubs to accommodate students attending more than 12 transfer programs across the district, involving thousands of students and adding complications to the bus routes.
Plus, BISD is geographically large with over 450 square miles; in fact, the district is in the top 16% of districts in Texas in geographical size according to Webb.
Buses drive 8,000 miles a day on 86 routes, many of those in rural areas, and with the current system in place there wasn’t enough time between routes to transport students in the allotted times.
According to BISD officials, eliminating the transfer hub system and adopting a direct busing system will ensure that students are in class and not missing instructional time.
The other part of the plan affecting most campuses, is the change in start and dismissal times.
Webb said the new schedules will allow the district to implement a two-tier system of direct busing.
This means that two, large “flights” of buses will transport students to and from school at separate times.
Although some routes may stop at different campuses, only students who attend the school will get off the bus.
That’s a stark change from the hub system, where students were getting off a bus and waiting for another one to take them to their home campus.
One concern is cost, but Webb said the new system will work without investing in more buses.
“As far as our bus rotation system goes and our bus fleet and inventory, we’re very well-positioned to accommodate this without having to go out and significantly incur more debt,” said Webb.
The revised start and dismissal times will begin on January 8, 2018.
Drivers will be practicing pick-up and drop-off times and driving routes before children begin the spring semester.
New route cards will also be distributed to parents and children to help ensure students are familiar with the new system.
For the revised school times and a message from BISD Dr. Christie Whitbeck, click here.