South Fayette to add to bus fleet

Board agrees to purchase four vehicles

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South Fayette School District plans to add four, 72-passenger buses to its fleet.

The school board agreed Tuesday to buy three buses for about $86,000 each and to seek bids for a fourth bus.

Superintendent Bille Rondinelli said the reason is a combination of enrollment growth and a shortage of buses, due to several years of cost-cutting measures.

Transportation director Donna Harshman said every bus carries more than 60 students.

"We don't have enough buses with the amount of students we're transporting," she said.

The additional buses will allow the district to eliminate double runs, which is the same bus making two trips.

Currently, three drivers make double runs in the morning and afternoon.

Parents have complained that double runs cause children to arrive at school too early or to return home too late.

Some elementary students are arriving 15 minutes early to school and waiting 30 minutes to go home after classes, parent Kelly Barish said.

"That is a huge deal, adding 45 minutes of sitting time for our kids. The kids need to be home for homework, after-school activities, family time and things like that," she said.

Teresa Burroughs, board vice president, agreed: "It's too much on the parents, and it's too much on the child."

From 2008 to 2012, South Fayette's enrollment grew by 434 students, an increase of 19 percent.

That's the highest growth rate among all school districts in Allegheny County, Ms. Rondinelli said.

Since then, 66 additional students have enrolled.

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Andrea Iglar, freelance writer:


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