School districts across the country are facing significant budget shortfalls, as funding drops and the future of the economy remains uncertain. Chicago Public Schools (CPS), for example, is currently battling a $1 billion deficit, a situation that will force the district to determine where it can adjust spending and limit expenses. CPS isn't the only district to experience extreme budget shortfalls - plenty of other schools will also see deficits this year. As a result, schools are increasing class sizes, cutting nonessential programs and holding off on hiring to keep their spending as low as possible.
Altering bus runs to cut costs
These aren't the only areas in which schools are attempting to trim their budgets. Some districts are planning school bus runs to make sure drivers are taking the most direct route when taking children to and from class and extracurricular activities. But some have found changing routes has not been popular with parents and students, despite the schools' ability to cut down on fuel spend and thus limit deficit growth.
Buses travel many miles each day - after taking high schoolers to class, they may be responsible for picking up elementary-aged children and then middle schoolers. And their runs aren't complete once the last school in the district has started class - in the middle of the day, they may need to drop off kindergartners who only attend classes for a few hours in the morning. When the last bell rings, they need to be ready to head over to schools and take students back home, to sports practice or club meetings that take place off campus.
In some districts, bus stops have been combined or eliminated entirely, which requires students to walk greater distances to get picked up or parents to drive their children to far away pickup locations. This has led to controversy among parents who may not have time to drop their children off in the mornings and students who were promised easily accessible transportation to and from school.
With many districts around the country already starting class and the remainder ready to start in the coming weeks, many have already employed route planning software to ensure bus runs are as short and fuel efficient as possible.