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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Most county students take advantage of free transportation to school

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

By JOEL TURNER - Staff Writer

Among Franklin County schools, Snow Creek Elementary has the highest percentage of students who ride school buses to and from school.

Eighty-three percent of the students living in the Snow Creek attendance zone ride county school buses.

Rocky Mount Elementary has the lowest percentage of students who ride school buses, 60.56 percent, according to a study for the county school system by Edulog, school bus consultants.

Rocky Mount Elementary's percentage is only a fraction below Lee M. Waid Elementary at 60.78 percent.

In Rocky Mount, many parents transport their children to and from elementary school.

At Franklin County High School, many students drive to and from school.

Steve Oakes, director of facilities and transportation for the school system, said the percentages reflect the number of students whose parents take them to school or those who drive to the high school.

"We questioned some of these figures, but this is what the consultants said," Oakes said.

The school with the third lowest percentage of bus riders is Boones Mill Elementary at 63.84 percent, according to the consultants' report.

Franklin County High School ranks fourth at 67.54 percent, followed by the Gereau Center, 67.67 percent.

The percentage of riders at other county schools are: Burnt Chimney, 75.24; Callaway, 72.04; Dudley, 78.46; Benjamin Franklin Middle-East, 77.61; Ferrum, 71.37; Glade Hill, 68.38; Henry, 71.20; Sontag, 71.34; and Benjamin Franklin Middle-West, 77.22.

The school system currently has 118 school bus routes, which includes 60 elementary routes and 58 secondary routes (middle and high school students).

The county transports elementary and secondary students on separate buses.

The county school system would have to nearly double the number of school bus routes if it picked up all students at their residence, according to the consultants' report.

Under the school system's current policy for extending bus routes, routes are extended if the distance is more than one mile to the next house with school children.

But bus routes are not extended if the distance is less than one mile.

School officials said many subdivisions in the eastern part of the county around Smith Mountain Lake and other growing areas have roads less than a mile in length.

The number of bus routes in the county would have to be increased from 118 to 228 if the school provided "door-to-door" service and all students were picked up at their residence, Oakes said.

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