Posts filed under ‘School bus’

The Great School Bus Mystery

Busing in the Chicago Public School system is a bit weird.  Some schools (I think magnet, gifted) will bus students who live within some range like over 1.6 miles and less than 5 miles.  There used to be WAY more busing going on until Arne Duncan realized that cutting was a way to save major money.  And jeez, the inefficiency of hauling kids from neighborhood to neighborhood all over the city is downright crazy in the age of high gas prices (not to mention a major traffic pain-in-the-butt.) 

I was surprised to get a postcard in the mail saying my son is eligible for a bus ride to his new Kindergarten.  The pickup point is our neighborhood school, so the bus ride is probably less than a mile.  (Inefficiency #1) I followed the directions on the postcard and called the bus company to see what our pickup/dropoff time would be.  Few days before school was starting and they were still “working it out.” (Inefficiency #2)  OK, new route, I guess.  They also told me that my son was the only kid scheduled for that stop. (Inefficiency #3)

His program only has K and 1st grade so I can’t even figure that there will be many kids on the bus.   I’m envisioning a giant bus with 3 tiny little kids all sitting at the front by the driver (I imagine it’s later in life that they angle for the coveted back-of-the-bus seats.)  If this is true, it might actually be more efficient for CPS to send a taxi to pick them all up.

So on the last business day before school started, the bus company still didn’t know the pickup time.  The school told me there IS one other kid scheduled for that stop so they will start sending a bus there each day (inefficiency #4) just in case.  I told the school that my son is shy and probably won’t be ready for the bus for at least a month (or maybe I won’t be ready for it.)  But for now, the bus will be stopping there each day.  However WHEN it will be there is anyone’s guess.

So the bus system is ripe with inefficiencies (if I have not made that point clear enough.)  But… for any family without the means or schedule to drive their kid to school every day the bus would be the only way to get them to the school that they lotteried/tested into.  And that – I can’t argue with.

August 31, 2008 at 9:50 am 11 comments


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