The success Manteca Unified has at filling driver positions will ultimately determine what students are bused to and from school.
District trustees are expected to decide Aug. 10 what students ultimately will be provided bus service and whether they will be charged for it.
On Tuesday trustees asked staff for more financial information as well as an updated status on hiring bus drivers in order to establish a busing policy for the coming year.
Meanwhile when school starts Wednesday, Aug. 4, special education, homeless, and foster children will have to and from school bus service as mandated by state law. So will migrant farmworker children enrolled in supplemental before and after school tutoring programs at French Camp School.
A limited number of rural students will also be bused. Families will be notified by individual school sites what students they will have space available for on buses.
More students could be eligible to ride the bus to and from school after the board assesses available resources when they meet Aug. 10.
The district drastically reduced to and from school busing in 2010 due to severe state budget cuts triggered by the mortgage crisis that led to the Great Recession. The district at that time went to only busing elementary students that resided more than a mile from campus as well as high school students living more than 1½ miles from their school.
Prior to the pandemic, the district provided bus service for elementary students who were 1.25 miles or farther from school based on the designated bus stop. The distance was 2.5 miles for high school students.
That was one option considered Tuesday. The other was to increase the minimal distance for busing to 2 miles for kindergarten through 8th grade students and 3 miles for high school students.
On Aug. 10, based on drivers, the board could take one of those two options or have the district tailor fit bus service tied to resources.
The district before — and during — the pandemic had 456 special education students and 861 students classified as homeless they were required to bus.
They had been busing another 1,200 students to and from school prior to the pandemic based on how far their bus stops were from the campuses they attended. Busing for those students was dropped due to social distancing requirements.
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