Private School Transportation Q&A

Posted on: August 5, 2019
Tags: Transportation
Private School Transportation: Answers to your questions

As part of Milford Schools’ commitment to fiscal responsibility, we regularly review our budget and our major cost centers, including transportation. The district recently contracted with Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) to audit our transportation operations and identify ways to reduce spending. Through that audit, OSBA identified several impractical routes that are exorbitant in cost. By eliminating these routes, the district can save between $250,000 and $300,000 annually.

This analysis is a regular process. Every year, schools are deemed impractical based on the number of applications for transportation. At the Board of Education meeting on July 18, the Board announced a possible resolution to deem transportation impractical for the following schools for the 2019-2020 school year: 

1) All Saints 

2) Cincinnati Hills Christian Elementary 

3) Cincinnati Hills Christian Middle School 

4) Cincinnati Hills Christian High School 

5) Guardian Angels 

6) McNicholas High School 

7) Moeller High School 

8) Mt. Notre Dame High School

9) St. Margaret of York 

10) The Seven Hills School 

11) Springer School and Center 

12) St. Michael 

13) Schilling School for Gifted Children 

14) Ursuline Academy 

15) Xavier University Montessori Lab School 

Below are common questions the district has received since the Board meeting:

How many students are affected?

The resolution will impact approximately 40 parochial/private school students. By law, the Board must pass a resolution to include specific students' names whose transportation is deemed impractical. This resolution will be on the August board agenda.

Why did the district make this decision? 

We regularly review our budget to look for areas of improvement and increased efficiency. That includes a review of our transportation costs. With less than 15 students on buses to the schools above, it is not financially practical to continue these routes. By eliminating these specific routes, the district will save between $250,000-$300,000 annually. Approximately 40 parochial/private students will be impacted by this change.

Has the district deemed schools impractical before?

Yes. Schools are deemed impractical nearly every year. This is a regular practice in Milford and other public school districts throughout Ohio.

For example, in 2018, Milford Schools deemed transportation impractical to four schools - Seven Hills, Springer School and Center, Schilling School for Gifted Children, and St. Xavier Montessori Lab. 

Could the decision be reversed for the 2020-21 school year?

Yes. We review these routes regularly to forecast and manage our transportation costs. If a school has enough applicants for transportation, the school will be deemed practical and the district will provide transportation.

What options are available for parents of impacted students?

We understand that this decision may be inconvenient for some families. Impacted families have the option to apply for payment-in-lieu of transportation. They can also appeal the decision and request mediation from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

Why is this being announced now?

Unfortunately, the transportation planning schedule is tight and doesn’t allow much time to make changes. Families who live in the district had until the end of June to apply for transportation to parochial or private schools. OSBA couldn’t complete their analysis until the application deadline had passed. The Board meeting on July 18 was the earliest opportunity the Board had to discuss the issue.

Is this decision related to the failure of the May bond issue?

No. The bond issue was for construction projects like a new middle school, a new auditorium, and high school renovations. Transportation costs come from the district’s operational funds. By law, bond revenue cannot be used for operating items like transportation.

It is true that transportation services have been cut in the past. However, those cuts were made after multiple operating levy failures. The district hasn’t proposed an operating levy since 2013 and doesn’t expect to propose one until the mid-2020s.

There are more than 40 kids in Milford who attend those schools. How can it only impact 40 kids? 

There are many families in Milford who choose to attend private school for a wide range of reasons. We support their decision to do so and are happy that they can pursue the educational path that is right for their family.

However, not all students who go to private school request transportation. Many students carpool with other families. At the high school level, many students drive themselves or ride with friends who can drive. Approximately forty students applied for transportation to these schools for the 2019-20 school year, which is why they are affected.

Isn’t Milford required by law to provide transportation within 30 minutes?

Yes, but with an exception. A school district can choose not to provide transportation if a school is deemed impractical. A school is deemed impractical if few students from that school request transportation.

How can it cost $10,000 per student to provide transportation?

Transportation is one of the biggest expenses for any public school district. Districts have to pay for bus rental, driver salaries, fuel, insurance and more. Some of these costs, like driver pay, are fixed, regardless of the size of the vehicle or how many students are on board. When a particular bus only carries a few students, the cost per student increases significantly.

When will this resolution be finalized?

The Board will vote on the resolution at the Board meeting on August 15, 2019. We encourage anyone with questions to contact the administrative office at 513-831-1314.