Bus Plan Frequently Asked Questions
WHY DID YOU CONSULT WITH TRANSFINDER?As our district prepares for our shift to an all elementary magnet school structure, we wanted to evaluate our current bus routes and determine ways to create efficiencies without increasing costs or needing to add additional buses to transport our Preschool / Pre-K to Grade 5 students.
What is the two-tier bus system?
Our proposed two-tier bus system brings students who live on a specific bus route to and from Groton Middle School and Fitch High School in a combined bus run. Each bus will be assigned a route and pick-up 6-12 grade students. Students will be riding with their peers from their community, similar to how our K-5 students ride on one bus. The only difference is instead of dropping students off at one school, the bus will first drop students off at FHS, then go directly to Groton Middle School.
Will middle and high school students have longer bus ride times?The average student will spend less time on the bus as compared to a pre-COVID year.
How will the new schedule impact after school activities and sports?
There should be minimal impact, if any, on after school activities and sports. Our Athletic Director will coordinate schedules to minimize disruptions to the academic school day. At times, when teams are traveling longer distances, early dismissals may be required. This is already the case, particularly during regional or state championships.Will this change increase Groton Public Schools transportation expenses?
No, we do not anticipate increases and are hopeful this will achieve cost savings. A combined, single run will significantly reduce our fuel usage, costs and environmental impact. How will GPS ensure the safety of all students on the bus? What about the middle school and high school students riding the bus together?
Getting our students to school safely and avoiding long ride times for them is our top priority. Buses may have 6th-12th grade students riding on the same bus, which is very similar to the grade span of the riders on our K-5 buses. We plan to have our middle school students sit in the front of the bus, while our older students will ride in the rear of the bus. The majority of ridership will be among 6th through 10th grade students, as many 11th and 12th grade students find alternate transportation. Additionally, GPS is looking at other resources available to ensure safe, efficient and cost-effective student transportation. We also provide training for our bus drivers annually and there will be specific training around bringing this age group together.
How will this impact the school from GMS and FHS?GMS students will begin school approximately 10 minutes earlier while FHS students will start school approximately 15 minutes later than their current times. There has been much discussion around the benefit of later school start times for high schoolers. Many students will benefit from additional sleep or the chance to have a healthier breakfast. Plus, this new structure helps our elementary buses get our younger students to and from school more efficiently and quickly.
How do the elementary school times compare to last school year?
Elementary times have been adjusted by five minutes. The increased time between the middle and elementary school runs actually allows for flexibility to transport elementary magnet students on time and without the need for additional buses.
When will this be finalized?
The school times for the 21-22 school year as shown above were approved by the Groton Board of Education on Monday, July 26, 2021. Groton Public Schools is continuing to work with Transfinder® Corporation to create efficient transportation routes for the 2021-2022 school year. Once finalized, the bus routes will be communicated to families and published on the Groton Public Schools website.