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Changes made to school bus route system for 2009-2010

After a careful study of the transportation needs and prior usage of students in Archuleta County, Archuleta School District 50 Joint has implemented a number of changes to school bus routes throughout the county for the 2009-2010 school year. Parents and students are urged to visit the district Web site at www.mypagosaschools.com for time changes and other details under “Transportation Services.”

Although the State of Colorado does not require school districts to provide transportation to its students, it is a privilege that the local district offers to the fullest possible extent. However, due to the vast number of roads and the distances served by the district, it is impossible to cover the entire county.

Archuleta School District is facing declining enrollment, and this decline has had a marked impact on the demand for school transportation. Without students taking advantage of the offered routes, it is difficult for the district to justify the miles traveled. Therefore, in order to determine the best use of funds and to serve the most students possible, district bus drivers spent three months during the 2008-2009 school year surveying all available routes and stops for the number of riders regularly onboard.

School district policy states that “consideration will be given to shortening a bus route when one mile or more is traveled one way to pick up five or fewer students at the end of a route.”

At the June 2009 school board meeting, district Transportation Director Dolly Martin proposed to board members that Aspen Springs and Cat Creek routes 8 and route 17 be shortened, due to the lack of students picked up at the end of these routes. This proposal was approved. These routes will continue to run during the 2009-2010 academic year, but students living at the end of these routes will need to meet the bus at designated stops closer to the main roads.

Additionally, students on Route 8 should note that this route will now only travel as far as the mailbox cluster on Cat Creek Road. Therefore, the students who live on Cat Creek, western U.S. 160, and Colo. 151 will need to meet the bus at the mailboxes on Cat Creek. This bus will also pick up Stollsteimer and Astraddle-a-Saddle riders.

Route 17 will now go out as far as Buttercup, also picking up Deer Trail, Oakridge and Simmons.

Informational letters went out from the district last week to all families served by route 8 and 17. However, the school district has received many of these letters back with incorrect or outdated addresses. We will also put out a phone message to everyone in the district prior to Monday Aug. 31.

A number of other changes have been made to districtwide bus route timing due to the new school start times implemented for this coming school year at the elementary and high schools. All routes have been changed by approximately 15 minutes. All parents are asked to check their child’s route for changes and to complete new bus contracts for the 2009-2010 school year. Contracts are available online at mypagosaschools.com, at the school district Maintenance and Transportation building just south of the high school, or by calling the Transportation Department at 264-0392. Bus drivers will also hand out bus contracts to students the first week of school.