Southampton schools to start two-tier busing

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Southampton County School Board unanimously agreed on Monday evening to implement the proposed two-tier bus system beginning this school year.

Essentially, the purpose is for fewer buses to serve many schools in transporting students to and fro. The schedules will be staggered to allow for each bus to take care of several routes.

In the spring, director of transportation Ricky Blunt outlined the need for a two-tier system in the county, along with its pros and cons and also proposed schedules. The intricacies of whichare being worked on now.

On Monday, it was determined that the start time for middle and high school students will be 7:45 a.m.; and 8:30 a.m. for the elementary students; previously it had been 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. for all levels.

This decision comes after more than four months of discussion and planning as well as three public hearings plus one or two work sessions. A fact that had been pointed out by board member Denise Bunn.

It was during those hearings that parents expressed concerns such as elementary school-aged children having to wait in the dark of the fall and winter mornings. A point also made in the past by board member Florence Reynolds. At this most recent meeting, there were no speakers during the public comment.

Dr. Deborah Goodwyn, superintendent, commended Blunt and transportation coordinator Ruth Burch, for their work.

In other school business;

• The board approved the annual senior trip to Orlando, Florida, next March 21-25.

• Wes Griffith was given the OK to use the school for baseball players to participate in the fall league.

• Board member Dr. Carolyn Modlin agreed to be added to Special Education Advisory Committee.

• Mahone’s Tavern and Museum will use Riverdale Elementary School on Sept. 17 for a program. • Regional historian John Quarstein is scheduled to speak.

• Western Tidewater Braves get to use the high school  football field for practices and games on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

The fall athletic schedules were also approved.