Proposed Solutions for Providing Equal Opportunity Access to Transportation for all City of Oak Ridge Students

The following was presented to the ORSB last night. They gave no indication of being willing to explore any transportation options until April and no desire to provide additional transportation options until next school year.
Proposed Solutions for Providing Equal Opportunity Access
to Transportation for all City of Oak Ridge Students

By Trina Baughn
January 28, 2008These suggestions are provided in an effort to overcome the greatest obstacle currently facing the school system (limited funding/resources) in their desire to provide all students with the same opportunity to ride a bus to and from school.

As Mr. DiGregorio alluded to in the July 2007 meeting, develop a .35 pick up across the board for first through 12th grade students:

From the BEP 2.0 Presentation prepared by Karen Gagliano, posted on the OR school website:

Option 2 – $75,000 – Reinstate all K-4 Door to Door 6 add’l buses thru 2012 $636KOption 1 – $50,000 – Reinstate Only K-2 Door to Door 4 add’l buses thru 2012 $424KOption 3 – $25,000 – Reinstate all K-4 pick up at .35 miles 2 add’l buses thru 2012 $212K

Based on these calculations, operational costs as well as additional bus costs run at about a 1/3 of the cost of door-to-door service. As Dr. Bailey has explained to me, this option has yet to be fully explored.

Use funding from the Budget Undesignated Fund Balance (a.k.a. reserves or Rainy Day Fund) to cover the approximate cost savings of last year’s cuts of $300,000.

Though once depleted to a balance of $0 in FY05/06, this fund has now been greatly replenished and as of December 2007 had a balance of $1.290 million. This reflects minimal use (less than 5%) since FY06/07 when the balance stood at $1.352 million.

(Note: There is a separate contingency fund, originally budgeted at $400K designated for the potential need of hiring additional teachers during the school year)

Review past year scenarios in which full service was offered but required fewer resources to determine how current resources can be better utilized.

Current enrollment statistics reflect a total student population of 4,413; the maximum anticipated enrollment for FY08 is 4,443
Current Bus Fleet: 33 (with 2 to be out of commission at the end of the school year and 23 in service; the remaining 8 are operational but must be reserved for a 3 tiered back up system)

FY1997 Budget
Projected Enrollment 5,038
Total planned bus fleet (including those to be used for back up system) 32 buses
These figures indicate planning for full service was based on a student population of greater than 12% (625 more students) of the current enrollment figures, yet required one less bus to implement.


  1. [crossposted at Atomic City Talk]Trina,I think you're misrepresenting the Board's intent. It became clear last night (during the latter part of the School Board's agenda) that they are actively reviewing options for meeting the safety and transportation needs of our kids — but that they are reserving their decision until the Special Transportation Committee (with representation from parents, school administration, City Council as well as the principals and Assistant Superintendant) makes their recommendation.Also, it would be worth digging into the data another layer or two. For instance, in your analysis of Option 3 (where you note fewer buses transported more students), were the buses identical? Or do the newer buses have less capacity than the older ones? And in Option 2, isn't there a state-mandated minimum for the Undesignated Fund Balance?

  2. The board did not express their intent while I was there. There was no mention of transportation on the agenda, so I’ll have to wait for 2 months to know exactly what was said because Mr. Smith is “not comfortable” with publishing draft minutes. (I would have stuck around, but was paying a sitter and the board is always adamant about following their agenda). They may very well be actively reviewing options, but they’ve claimed to have been doing this for 17+ months. To reserve decisions only continues to endanger lives.Yes, it would be worth digging. I’ve spent countless hours digging and will continue to do so. However, since I have to wait (often indefinitely) for answers, as well as other citizens who’ve called the transportation director directly for seemingly simple answers like “How many children are in the walkzone?” and since many answers that are produced are inaccurate (i.e. total number of buses), it sometimes seem pointless. If you are successful in getting answers to your questions, please share. If there is a state-mandate for a minimum Undesignated Fund balance, then how did they operate on a zero-balance in FY05/06?

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