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OPS unveils new plan to get student transportation in gear

(WOWT)
Published: Aug. 14, 2017 at 3:16 PM CDT
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The Omaha Public School District is getting the new year out of the starting gate with a fresh plan to move students back-and-forth to class.

The district is hoping that the student assignment plan will make riding the bus a smoother experience than it was last year.

OPS says the student assignment plan is simpler and more efficient.

Linda Brown was getting her grandchild ready for the school year Monday. Linda has been informed about the new plan and she thinks it will be an improvement. She called it, “very understandable and very helpful.”

The district has been working on this new plan for more than two years. They’ve produced videos and sent out letters to help parents understand the new strategy. They say communication is key.

OPS Administrator Anne Macfarland said, “We really heard from our community that they really wanted some collaboration, first of all, the concerns they had about transportation, as well as looking how we could be more efficient with the resources that we have in helping to support families to get to school.”

The new plan will save taxpayers more than $7 million in transportation costs. OPS has created separate partner zones for elementary and middle school students where families would be eligible for transportation.”

Macfarland said, “We decreased the walk distance to schools for our middle school. It used to be two miles. They had to live outside the attendance area by two miles to be eligible. We’ve reduced that to a mile-and-a-half and for our elementary school from a mile-and-a-half to a mile.”

School officials believe they have solved the major problem that caused all of the issues last year.

“What we saw last year was a shortage in bus drivers. I think what you’re going to see is the partner zone being more efficient, reducing the number of buses that we need and therefore the number of riders.”

Macfarland said they have hired more than enough bus drivers this year and she hopes that translates into fewer problems with getting students where they need to go.

This year’s changes do not affect high school students.

For more information on the student assignment plan,

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There is also a new phone number for parents to contact OPS and or STA - the bus company. The number is 531 299-0140.

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