The K-W school board has been looking for avenues to cut costs in the districts shrinking budget. One of the latest items has been the transportation of the students to and from school. The latest proposal published from the school board was to reduce the bus routes from ten to seven with the justification that it would only add 15 to twenty minutes per route. This would save $700 per day for the school district by altering the contract with Held Bus which the district had agreed to two years ago.
In a conversation with Jon Held, the Kenyon and Wanamingo Messenger would like to clarify the realities of the busing schedule. Held Bus has been operating eleven bus routes each day while only being paid for ten, and reducing the number to seven would add 40 to 60 minutes per route. It was also pointed out that drivers would have to learn a new route with only a couple months left in the school year, and the route that is drawn out by computer may not be the safest or most efficient route in real life. The new plan would have some rural students getting on the bus at 5:45am. Parents were very upset about the changes and have expressed their displeasure about the extended routes and long bus rides from their children. One of the outcomes of children faced with a two hour bus ride is that parents located at the extremities of the school district will enroll their children in a closer school district, further exacerbating the K-W school district problem by losing even more students.
The K-W school district covers more area than many of the surrounding schools and Held Bus has a fifty-five year history of safe and efficient transportation of Kenyon and Wanamingo students. Jon Held along with his father Howard before him, have operated a highly respected bus service all these years which parents have trusted the safety of their children traveling to and from school and for many after school activities.
The latest negotiation with the school and approval from the superintendent has led to an agreement of nine routes and no child will have to board their bus before 6:15am.
Jon points out further that in October of 2020 Held Bus submitted a bill to the K-W school district which was never paid in full. They received approximately 15% of the total bill which barely covered about a third of the payroll for the month. This is a local family run business that pays $50,000 a month in payroll along with fuel and maintenance in vehicles to service the transportation of district students. “Where did the money go”, he asks?
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