HISD Schedules Magnet Transportation Community Meetings To Attract Input

November 19, 2008

The Houston Independent School District has scheduled a series of district wide and regional meetings to gather community input on proposed changes to magnet transportation. Unless the Texas Legislature changes the state funding formula in its next session, which begins in January, HISD will receive the same funding next year that it did this year, while recurring costs such as property insurance continue to rise.

The district is currently reviewing its budget to identify areas where the district can save money while maintaining educational programs, from neighborhood schools to magnet programs.

 

One of the areas the district is exploring is the cost of transporting magnet students. HISD spends $26.4 million each year to bus all of its students to and from school. Magnet transportation alone accounts for 62 percent of the total, or $16.6 million.

 

The average cost of transporting a magnet student each year is $1,402, compared to $221 for regular-education students. Most of that cost, $8.9 million, is for transporting students who live 10 or more miles from their school. Currently HISD is exploring three potential options, while continuing to seek alternative ideas from the community and from the district’s transportation experts.

 

  • Transport students from 2 to 10 miles only. This would affect about 3,300 students who could be dropped off at existing HISD bus stops, on a space-available basis, within a 10-mile radius of their respective schools. The estimated saving is $8.9 million.
     
  • Transport students from 2 to 10 miles only and establish “drop and ride” stops inside the 10-mile limit for those students who reside 10 miles or more from their magnet school.  This would reduce the number of miles driven and the number of buses needed to transport the same number of students. The estimated saving is $6.5 million.
  • Establish “drop and ride” locations within 10 miles of each school for all magnet students. This would result in full buses traveling even fewer miles and making even fewer stops. The estimated saving is $7.1 million.

 

A portion of the savings would be used to cover expected budget shortfalls next year, but the superintendent of schools also plans to commit a portion of the savings to magnet programs by providing funding to schools that currently receive little or no magnet money and to establish new magnets in underserved areas, according to HISD representatives. The community meeting schedule is as follows:

 

  •  Nov. 20      6:30 p.m. Westbury High School
  • Dec. 2        6:30 p.m. Waltrip High School
  • Dec. 4         6:30 p.m. Chávez High School

 

Regional Magnet Transportation Community Meetings Schedule

 

  • Nov. 20   5 p.m.   Pershing Middle School        West
  • Dec. 3     6:30 p.m.   Madison High School             South
  • Dec. 3     6:30 p.m.   DeBakey High School            Central
  • Dec. 8     6 p.m.   Austin High School                East
  • Dec. 9     6 p.m.   Davis High School                  North

  

 

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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