Bay District Schools Gets New Opt-In Transportation System
BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG / WECP) – In recent years, school officials in the Bay District have guessed how many students need transportation to get to school.
“We knew from the addresses in the system how many students were enrolled in the particular neighborhood. So we had run there and we knew the capacity of our buses, ”said Mike Carter, Director of Transportation.
Starting this school year, parents have a new way of “registering” their child for transportation, which allows the district to compile exact numbers.
“In other words, ask for transportation. If you need transportation, ask for it, ”Carter said.
The new online opt-in button is via Focus, also known as the parent portal.
“It’s a great way to maintain communication between schools and families,” said Josh Balkom, executive director of operational support services.
Whether you have used transportation in the past, all parents are encouraged to register or unsubscribe. Officials said this information helps design the most effective routes for their children.
“Please let me encourage you to do it as soon as possible, it will help us,” Balkom said.
District officials said they are cutting from 130 routes to 105 this coming year. And just because you come in and ask for transportation.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get transportation if you’re not eligible,” Carter said.
There are state and district guidelines for determining whether a student is eligible for bus transportation. They said one factor is that a student lives two miles or more from their designated school. They also want parents to know.
“If your address is not correct in Focus and you don’t request transportation, we won’t have transportation for you,” Carter said.
And they say they want transportation for as many students who need it.
The deadline to “register” your child for transportation is July 21. Carter said if you miss the deadline, that doesn’t mean your child won’t have transportation. This means that your child will simply not have access to transportation on the first day of school.
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