With the cost of transportation taking a bite of nearly $4 million out of Crawford Central School District’s annual budget, Dave Dickson, the district’s director of buildings, grounds and transportation, has been seeking ways to tighten things up while also bringing district policy into compliance with current regulations.

When Crawford Central School Board meets for its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the district’s instructional support center, a revised transportation policy is on the agenda for a final vote. The policy was originally put into place in 1990.

For starters, the revised policy will give the district a bit of leeway by specifying that the district may — as opposed to “will” — provide transportation.

At the request of the board, the revision also replaces the phrase “field trips” with “curricular trips,” indicating that closer attention will be paid to the educational component of planned excursions.

After noting that the board is “aware of the concern of parents regarding the transportation of their children,” the revised policy notes that the district has the responsibility for the assignment of both school bus stops and students to bus routes.

“Parents and guardians must recognize that bus assignments cannot be customized to meet every individual need and still be part of an efficient and economical transportation,” according to a new section of the revised policy.

“The district will cooperate with working parents and a reasonable baby-sitting/day care arrangement,” the policy continues. “This means that the child will receive a regular bus schedule assignment at the beginning of the school year. The district will attempt to reasonably accommodate parent work schedules and emergencies that may require a change in the bus schedule assignment. The parent(s) or guardian(s) may request in writing that a student be reassigned to a different bus stop and/or route. Such bus schedule changes shall not be approved for sporadic or individual school days, but are intended to address parental work schedule changes, permanent changes in custody or baby-sitting arrangements, or family or medical emergencies only.”

This is separate from the revision to the district’s “Transportation of Children to Day Care Centers/Sitters” policy approved in June, when the phrase “Students transported to a day care/sitter will be picked up and dropped off at the same point every day unless otherwise requested by parent/guardian with written permission” was amended to read “Students transported to a day care/sitter will be picked up and dropped off at the same point every day.”

Superintendent Charlie Heller told the board that eliminating the option of changing drop-off locations will substantially reduce the daily flow of paperwork — and disruption — in school offices across the district.

In addition, the revised policy on the agenda for Monday’s vote officially makes the bus an extension of the school. “A student should act on the bus as s/he should while in school,” the policy states. “A bus transportation program is also used as a means of extending the education of the child in that it provides him/her with an opportunity to practice courtesy and safety and to develop respect for authority .... Students are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the same rules and regulations that apply in the classroom. Infractions will be handled as dictated by the Students’ Rights and Responsibilities policy.”

What to watch for next:

Crawford Central School Board is expected to vote on changes in its transportation policy during its monthly meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at the district’s Instructional Support Center, 11280 Mercer Pike, Vernon Township. The policy notes that the district is not obligated to provide transportation, will cut down on the number of special requests from parents and stresses that special trips with district-provided transportation must have a strong educational aspect.

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