Southampton finalizes two-tier busing details

Published 10:36 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In the called meeting on Monday evening, the Southampton County School Board completed some necessary details to the two-tier business system, which begins on Tuesday, Sept. 5. That plan of using bus drivers to take two routes — secondary (which includes middle school), followed by elementary student levels — was approved at the regular meeting on Aug.  14.

The goal of the two-tiers is to use fewer bus drivers to transport the students to and from school. Finding qualified drivers has been a significant issue for the school system in the past, and a motivator for adopting the plan.

Transportation coordinator Burch said that since last week she’s had three more drivers to leave, one for health reasons and the other two finding new work. There are now 11 vacant bus driver positions.

“We are in the process of beginning a new training class with three trainees,” she said.

Burch reminded the board members that upon presentation of the two-tier system, the bus routes were figured to need at least an hour to an hour and one-half to get the students to the secondary schools and return to start the routes for elementary schools.

The approved system cuts that time to 45 minutes from secondary to elementary, and an hour for second, with no student boarding before 7 a.m. The exception would be the far-reaching areas of the county, and that would be no earlier than 6:45 a.m.

Burch continued in her presentation that in order for instructional time to begin at 7:45 a.m. for secondary levels and 8:30 a.m. for elementary students, the buses would need to arrive between 7:15 to 7:30 a.m. and 8 to 8:15 a.m., respectively.

Some secondary students might need to board as early as 6:25 to 6:30 a.m. Further, the majority of students will begin boarding buses from 6:30 to 6:45 a.m., which is in line with the times they have been previously board.

Further, elementary bus routes should still be able to remain within the 45 minutes to one hour, with the  earliest pickup begin 7 a.m.

Dr. Deborah Goodwyn, board chair, first thanked Burch and transportation director Ricky Blunt for their work in this matter. Based on discussion, the board members present unanimously approved the following:

Tier 1

Middle and secondary instruction time is to begin at 7:45 a.m. and end at 2:45 p.m.

Tier 2

Elementary instruction time is to begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3:45 p.m.

Buses are expected to arrive at schools at approximately 15 minutes before classes start.


On a related matter, rates for elementary child care were also unanimously established. Pre-school care would be 7 to 8:30 a.m.; after-school care from 3:45 to 6 p.m.

The rates are $35 per child per week for morning and afternoon sessions; $30 for weekly afternoon care only; $25 for weekly morning care only; $5 per day morning; and $7 afternoon only.

If a family has more than one child needing such care, then the rates for the second child and each subsequent child would be $26.25; $22.50; $18.75; $3.75: $5.25, respectively.

The late pick-up fee will be $1 per minute per child.

All money collected pays for personnel and resources.

Any fee changes will be announced in December.