Ninety-seven children at Buchanan Elementary will have shorter bus rides this fall than they might have had, East Baton Rouge Parish school system officials said Tuesday.
Rather than heading through the school system’s transfer point at North Sherwood Forest Drive, families will bring their children to six collection points.
The change will substantially reduce bus ride times — 12 minutes to 38 minutes as compared with between 60 and 80 minutes for all but four students who will have a 55-minute ride to school.
The new school year starts Aug. 10.
School system spokesman Chris Trahan said the district is beginning to notify the affected families at Buchanan.
The move is prompted by outcry from parents of gifted children upset when the School Board voted in April to eliminate direct buses to school for children on routes with fewer than 30 children. The move is saving an estimated $825,000 by removing about 16 buses from the road.
The plan for Buchanan is a pilot program. School system officials say if it works well, the district will try the idea at other schools with gifted programs.
Buchanan Elementary, 1222 E. Buchanan St., had the most children affected by the move away from direct busing. Many of them live several miles away from Buchanan, which is situated near LSU.
Four of these new collection points for Buchanan students are elementary schools, a fifth is a middle school and a sixth is located in a subdivision.
The school system held a meeting on July 18 where some Buchanan parents asked for more than just the four collection points originally proposed. Woodlawn Elementary and Riverbend subdivision were added.
Trahan said parents are responsible for transporting their children to these six collection points.
Here are the collection points, times and number of children affected:
• Bus A will go first to Woodlawn Elementary, 8160 Antioch Road, leave at 7:15 a.m.; go to Mayfair Middle, 9880 Hyacinth Ave., leave there at 7:43 a.m.; go to Wildwood Elementary, 444 Halfway Tree Road and leave there at 7:52 a.m. Four students live closest to Woodlawn, 28 students live closest to Mayfair and 21 live closest to Wildwood.
• Bus B will go first to Magnolia Woods Elementary, 760 Maxine Drive, leave at 7:48 a.m.; go to Highland Elementary, 280 Sunset Blvd., leave there at 7:55 a.m.; and go to Riverbend subdivision off Brightside Lane, and leave there at 7:58 a.m.
Nine children live closest to Magnolia Woods, 16 live closest to Highland and 18 live closest to Riverbend subdivision.
Both buses are to arrive at Buchanan at 8:10, early enough for students to eat breakfast in advance of the start of school at 8:25 a.m.
Transportation will work the same in reverse with buses leaving Buchanan at 3:30 p.m., dropping students off at those same six collection points, though school officials warn the drive will take slightly longer because of afternoon traffic.
The school system reports that the buses will transport an estimated 54 and 43 students respectively to Buchanan, but can hold as many as 66 children each.