Middle school to offer activity bus

New Prague Middle School will offer activity buses to accommodate students from the Elko New Market and Lonsdale areas who are active in after-school activities.

            Administration has surveyed residents and found an interest, and it was decided to offer the fee-based service as a pilot program.

            Superintendent Tim Dittberner and Administrative intern Adam Dittberner briefed school board members on the plan at the August 12 workshop meeting. Students will sign up and pay a fee for the service for the entire season, and the fee must be paid up front. Adam Dittberner presented information to the board that showed the district would break even if there were 43 students per bus with each paying $65 for the fall season.

            Board member Jerry Walerius asked if the district was going to cover the entire cost, or if they would lower the rates, with the district picking up part of the cost.  It was pointed out in discussion that they didn't want to make it cost-prohibitive, and the students are already paying an $85 activity fee. In the end, the board decided to offer the service for $40 if 40  students sign up for each route.

            The buses would leave from the middle school and drop students off at a designated spot - most likely Eagle View Elementary in Elko New Market and a location to be determined in Lonsdale. Parents would be required to pick up the students at that location.

            Board member Dennis Havlicek asked if the service would be available only for athletes, or if those involved in other activities would also be allowed to take the bus. He was told that those involved in other school activities, such as drama, band or choir, who have a need to stay after school, would also be allowed to sign up for the bus.

            The board does have concerns about the drop-off sites and noted that it is important for the parents to have someone to pick up the students at the designated site. Administration will work on finalizing the plan to present to the board at its August 26 meeting for approval. Parents would be able to sign up for the service at the middle school open house on August 28.

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