HONOLULU — A proposal from the state Department of Education for the state Board of Education to discontinue certain school bus routes hit a wall Tuesday, and will now be revisited in an upcoming board meeting.
“The department will come up with a recommendation that is not as severe,” said Randy Moore, DOE assistant superintendent.
The proposal would cut several school routes on Kaua‘i, adding to a savings of $536,574 in school bus services but potentially leaving 409 public school students on the island without a school bus.
Kaua‘i schools affected would be Kapa‘a Elementary, Middle and High, Kaua‘i Middle and High, and Waimea Canyon and High.
The department acknowledged that if the proposal was accepted, it would increase staff workload, congestion at school drop-off and pick-up areas and might adversely affect student achievement due to likely increased tardiness and absenteeism.
The proposal deferred Tuesday by BOE would eliminate the need for 190 out of the 513 school buses statewide contracted with the state, of which 67 would be from route consolidations with no loss of service, but 123 of which would discontinue service to approximately 7,500 students statewide.
The reduction in regular bus services statewide would save approximately $10 million in bus contract costs to the state, and the consolidation of lightly used routes would save another $4 million, reducing the projected bus contract cost from $41 million to $27 million, according to a letter sent from DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi to the board.
Additionally, the department would incur approximately $2 million in bus contract termination costs, have a reduced fare revenue of $1 million and also incur $1 million in additional Honolulu and Neighbor Island (except Big Island) bus passes.
The BOE’s next scheduled committee meeting is July 3. With the school year beginning July 30, the board may be pressed to make a decision soon.
Moore said the board may schedule as special committee meeting at its June 19 board meeting to address the issues.
Besides reducing the level of bus services, the DOE also suggested some changes in administrative rules, Moore said.