BURLINGTON – The buses in Burlington have been unable to get all the town’s students to the start of school on time.
In the midst of the fourth year in a five-year contract with Trombly Motor Coach Service, the Burlington Public Schools’ fleet of buses consists of 18 large passenger buses for general education and includes options for specialized transportation entailing passenger buses of 35 people. The 18 buses are utilized in three tiers (Marshall Simonds Middle School; elementary schools; Burlington High School).
With traffic affecting most of Burlington before 9 a.m. on weekdays, the extremely finite amount of time it takes to get all students to homeroom by the morning bell is nearly impossible, given the suburban variables on the streets of Burlington.
“There is not enough time to make all the stops,” assured Burlington School Supt. Dr. Eric Conti. “We are designing routes based on every student getting a seat on a bus.”
The superintendent reminded everyone that many other school districts do not provided bus transportation for students living within a certain proximity to their respective schools.
The focal point of the problem is the Burlington High School tier, which is arriving approximately nine minutes late so those students using the bus are unable to make it to homeroom by the 8:30 a.m. start-time.
With the buses coming in by 8:40 a.m., the school administration proposed pushing back the start of school at Burlington High School by 10 minutes, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. This results in end-of-school bell ringing at 3:10 p.m. instead of 3 p.m.
School Committee member Christine Monaco was critical of the start-and-end time alterations, expressing concern for the well-being of students needing to get places after school.
“Getting out later will impact students negatively as they try to get to obligations out of school,” she stated.
However, understanding options are limited at this point and the importance of getting students to school on-time, she and the rest of the School Committee ended up voting in favor of the proposal to change the start-time to 8:40 a.m. and end-time to 3:10 p.m. at Burlington High School.
These changes went into effect immediately after the committee approved it.