Branch lays out busing information

BELOIT — Information regarding the new busing at West Branch Local Schools has been made available to parents.

Superintendent Timothy Saxton issued a one-call Tuesday evening to report the information regarding the change in busing effective Jan. 2, as well as a new latch key program, was posted to the district’s website. The information is located under the Spotlight News tab.

After the failure of a .5 percent earned income tax levy in November, the district is eliminating all busing for students in grades nine through 12, students in kindergarten through eight who live within two driving miles of their assigned building, all students who require special education services except as required by law, all open enrollment students and all students who attend non-public or community schools unless required by law.

Due to the elementary and middle school students being the only ones bused, the district will move to a single route for all bused students. Knox and Damascus elementary schools will start at 7:55 a.m. while the middle school will remain the same. Elementary bus dismissal will begin at 2:20 p.m.

All students eligible for transportation will be picked up in the morning and transported to the middle school. Elementary students will then be shuttled to their respective building.

According to the information on the website, a letter and/or postcard will be sent to parents explaining the new pick up time for those affected. Specific questions regarding the new busing schedule are still being handled.

With the new busing causing the need for altered child care for parents, the district is offering a latch key (before and after school) program with fees established to only pay for the program and not generate excess funds.

The program will be offered at the elementary and middle school buildings to provide quality care and a safe environment for children before and after school, as well as a recreational/educational alternative to parents for before and after school care. Students will participate in a variety of activities such as crafts, selected movies, sports, outdoor/indoor play and games, but still be provided time to complete homework assignments, listen to stories and have a light snack.

The program will be available at elementary buildings from 6:30 to 7:55 a.m. and 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and middle school from 6:30 to 7:40 a.m. and 2:45 to 5:30 p.m. each school day.

Students are able to attend on a full- or part-time basis depending on needs with costs computed to the nearest half hour of the student’s attendance. The hourly rate for the program will be $4 per hour for each student, plus a registration fee of $25 for one student and $40 per family. A late pick up penalty fee will be applied.

Parents must transport students to and from the program.

The latch key program application is available online in the same location as the busing information. More information about the latch key program is expected to be published at the end of the week.