Bus schedule facing changes

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2005

NATCHEZ &045;&045; One of the biggest details left to work out before a newly reorganized school district opens for classes in August lies in the hands of Durham Bus Services.

&uot;It’s going to be a busy summer,&uot; bus Manager Ron Idom said. &uot;We are going to sit down and restructure all the bus routes.&uot;

The Natchez-Adams School District contracts their transportation to Durham.

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Since schools will no longer be determined by geographic region, bus drivers used to making two stops for eight grades will now have to make four.

&uot;We’ll completely reroute all the buses in the district,&uot; Idom said. &uot;We are going to be working with that information and trying to streamline the routes as best we can.&uot;

Possible changes for students include riding the bus to one school and switching buses for a ride to their own school and a change in school start times.

Idom said bell schedules would probably remain the same for the primary and elementary students, but middle school and high school starting and ending times would have to change.

Right now Robert Lewis Middle and Natchez High start at 8:10 a.m., that time may become 8:30 a.m.

&uot;The compounding factor there is that we don’t want to force the elementary students to get up earlier and we can’t put them in the schools until 7 a.m.&uot;

Because the schools can’t open until 7, it would do no good to start bus routes earlier, leaving the only option to delay the day for the upper grades.

Idom said the changes will make the bus routes more efficient in the end though. Currently, with a north, south dividing line determining school attendance, students on one side of the road attend West Primary, while the opposite side attends Frazier Primary.

&uot;Students in the same neighborhood will all ride the same bus,&uot; he said.

He is hopeful the restructuring will not mean the need for additional buses and drivers, but he said that is still a possibility.

&uot;We know there are tax woes and we are trying to minimize the impact on them,&uot; Idom said.

Superintendent Anthony Morris said the district has had several conversations with Durham.

&uot;We do think they will be able to work through that,&uot; Morris said. &uot;And we have someone assigned to help work through it.&uot;

Idom said no decisions had been made yet, but was hopeful the new routes would be ready for the public by July.