December 21, 2020
Q: On Wednesday's, WCSD students are remote learning and WCSD drivers, (approximately 160 full and part time drivers), are in school buildings. With that being said, there are 14 to 15 private and parochial runs being driven by Orange County Transit on Wednesday's, costing $8,370.00 for that day. If a month has 4 Wednesday's that total is $33,480.00 and if the month has 5 Wedesday's that totals $41,850.00 of tax payer dollars. Starting with January 6, 2021 through June 2021 there are 24 Wednesday's that will cost $200,880.00 in addition to the salaries that are already be paid to the WCSD drivers who are in the schools on that day, (plus the money already spent on Wednesday's since October).
Why would you not utilize WCSD drivers on Wednesday's to transport those students who attend private or parochial schools to save tax payers $200,880.00?
The total number of runs being covered by Orange County Transit is 14 as of this time. On Wednesdays when WCSD is remote there are up to 11 runs for private and parochial schools being bussed using Orange County Transit. The costs for Wednesdays could be as much as $6,138 or could be less if schools or programs are not running for whatever reason. WCSD only pays for the days that Orange County Transit operates. While many of these private and parochial routes run 5 days a week, as these schools have full week programs, they have also experienced closures and shutdowns that WCSD has not. The Wednesday cost therefore fluctuates from one week to the next.
The bus driver may be the first school employee face that is seen by students as they start their school day. Consistency is important for students. While there are many issues with absenteeism for a variety of reasons, both WCSD and Orange County Transit make every effort to maintain the same driver as much as possible. If WCSD were to switch up Wednesday drivers in addition to the absenteeism that both WCSD and Orange County Transit are experiencing, this could add more stress to the students. Additionally, there could be an increased opportunity for mistakes to be made on the bus (i.e.: students offload at an incorrect location) as drivers will not know their student ridership.
This absenteeism is not a new phenomenon and WCSD has been working on this for many years now.