New program offers families chance to buy school bus seat

Grafton district will waive students’ eligibility requirement to ride for $300 annual fee
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton School District is launching a new program for families who are ineligible for busing to purchase a seat on a current bus route.

“We do occasionally have a request to do something like this and we felt this would be a good time to provide that option,” said Topher Adams, the district’s business director.

Currently, students in kindergarten through fifth grade are ineligible if they live within a mile from their school and students in sixth through 12th grade who are within two miles of their school.

The cost to purchase a seat is $300 for a year. Adams said this year will be prorated because the program was created after the start of the year.

Adams is not sure how many families will participate in the program but expects there to be about a dozen who will want to pursue the option.

“I don’t think we’re going to be overwhelmed with requests,” he said.

The district consulted its busing provider, Riteway, to determine the number of seats available on each route before the plan was set in place.

Along with the fee, it is required that the students would have to board and exit at an existing pick up and drop off location, to prevent additional costs for the district.

The district would generate revenue dependent on the number of participants in the program.

“We thought this would create an option for parents who really need it and it wouldn’t add any cost to the School District because we wouldn’t be adding any stops and making routes longer,” Adams said.

While other school districts such as Port Washington-Saukville offer the same busing alternative, this is the first time the Grafton School District has proposed this plan.

Adams said the timing of the program is not a result of the district realigning its attendance boundaries this year when it consolidated from three to two elementary schools, which was part of Grafton’s $39.9 million school facilities project.  

 
Adams said purchasing a seat for one year would not guarantee a seat for the following year because the process would need to be repeated annually as ridership and routes change each year.

The School Board approved the plan on Monday, Oct. 22, and the district will send out an informational letter to families next week.

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