1 | CONT ENTS OVERVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 2 SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION AND EXPANDED LEARNING TIME ................................ ................................ .... 4 SCHOO L TRANSPORTATION IN COLORADO ................................ ................................ .............................. 5 OPEN ENROLLMENT ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 7 NONTRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND TRANSPORTATION SERVICES ................................ ............. 8 IMPLICATIONS OF TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS FOR EXPANDED LEARNING TIME SCHOOLS ................ 12 EXPANDED LEARNING TIME SCHOOLS AND TRANSPORTATION AVAILABILITY IN COLORADO .............. 16 SCHOOL DISTRICT TRANSPORTATION POLICIES ................................ ................................ .......................... 22 REQUESTING BELL TIME CHANGES ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 23 DISTANCE THRESHOLDS ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 23 FEE FOR SERVICE BUSING ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 24 SPACE AVAILABLE BUSING ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 25 TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 25 RESPONSES TO SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES ................................ ................................ ......... 26 THE FOUR DAY SCHOOL WEEK ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 26 D ENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS (DPS) SUCCESS EXPRESS ................................ ................................ ............... 28 BOULDER VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT (BVSD) TRANSPORTATION EFFICIENCY EFFORT ........................... 30 DENVER REGIONAL COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS (DRCOG) SCHOOLPOOL PROGRAM ......................... 34 PARTNERSHIPS WITH PUBLIC TRANSIT AGENCIES ................................ ................................ .................. 38 NOTEWORTHY SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION PRACTICES IN COLORADO ................................ ................. 42 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 43 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 45 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 50 ABOUT THE AUTHORS ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 50 APPENDIX ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 51
2 | OVERVIEW Expanded learning time (ELT) programs are an increasingly popular education reform aimed at improving student outcomes generally, and reducing disparities in student outcomes for disadvantaged populations specifically A potential barrie r to the creation and success of ELT programs is transportation; these programs expanded schedules and calendars may conflict existing transportation services. Research typically considers the safety and efficiency of school trans portation but not its impact on school reforms including adding time to the school day or year. Th is report provides an introduction to school transportation and its interaction with efforts to ex pand the school day or year, nationwide, and in the Colora do context. We review t he availability of school transportation in identified Colorado schools with longer school days and years and use a sample of Colorado school district transportation policies to illustrate existing practices that may have implicatio ns for supporting these scheduling changes. We also present a series of strategies and programs that address school transportation challenges in Colorado to provide context for the types of activities and innovative practices already in place across the st ate. Accommodating requested changes to school schedules and calendars often presents a trade off between schedule and calendar decisions at the school level and financial costs for districts and their transportation departments. The magnitude of any addit ional costs depends on the disruption to the existing transportation system and any additional service demands caused by the change. The limited national research on school transportation as it relates to ELT program s suggests that transportation, at least from purely a cost perspective, is a secondary consideration for schools when compared to the other costs of adding learning time Within Colorado, the majority of identified schools that have added substantial time to their school day and year are nontra ditional public schools. The availability of transportation services in these schools differs by school type and district. Although there are fewer traditional public schools with longer days or years those that offer expanded calendars are generally well
3 | served by district provided transportation T he same is true for innovation schools which receive per pupil funds from the districts and typically use those funds to secure district provided transportation but also have the option of using external provi ders Charter schools commonly add time to their school days and years but are much less likely to offer transportation services to students. T he prominent exception s are those charter schools receiving transportation services through Denver Public Schools system. Beyond Success Express, about 10 percent of the identified charter schools with ELT programs offer transportation services either independently or by contracting with their school district. T ransportation may remain a significant barrier to schools consider ing making changes to their existing schedules and calendars even innovation and traditional public schools Anecdotal evidence from news stories and innovation plans suggest s that the approval of changes to distri ct provided transportation schedules is a key hurdle to restructuring school time. H owever t he large number of charter schools with ELT programs suggest s that lengthening the school day or year occurs frequently in the absence of school transportation and is not a primary barrier to families already attending those schools. Open enrollment activity in Colorado has reduced some of the traditional demands on districts for transportation services The many student s who choos e a school other than the one assig ned to them are typically ineligible for district provided transportation. School district transportation policies have generally responded to such shifts only on the periphery. For example, most districts allow students to apply for seats on buses when sp ace is available even if those students are not eligible based on district policies. School districts and other transportation providers in Colorado have re acted to both persistent and emerging transportation challenges in a variety of ways This report d ocuments a number of the responses including the implementation of the four day school week, the Success Express shuttle bus system in D enver Public Schools (D PS ) Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) ongoing efforts to increas e efficiency in school tr ansportation, a Denver Regional Council of
4 | Governments (DRCOG) effort to encourage alternative school transportation methods through Schoolpool, and school district cooperation with public transit agencies SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION 1 AND EXPANDED LEARNING TIM E Before explicitly considering the connection between school transportation and ELT programs, a basic understanding of school transportation and the Colorado context is needed. Traditional school bus transportation systems attempt to maximize bus trips by staggering school bell times (start and end times) based on the grades each school serves. By starting and ending schools in tiers, it is possible to serve multiple schools with a single bus. To accommodate this more efficient utilization of buses, high s chools typically start and finish the day earliest, followed by middle schools, and then elementary schools. Beyond the tier approach, another defining characteristic of school transportation is rider eligibility where students qualify for bus transporta tion to their assigned school based on the distance they reside from the assigned school location. The eligible distance threshold usually increases The following section describes school transportation in Colorado and highl ights the prominence of open enrollment and the popularity of nontradi tional public schools, which have implications for transportation and ELT programs. 1 For a thorough review of the broader school tran sportation field, see Vincent, Makarewicz, Miller, Ehrman, and McKoy 2014.
5 | SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION IN COLORADO Although not legally mandated, in 2009 10 the Colorado Departmen t of Education reported and that half of those without service compensate d families for getting their kids to school (CDE n.d.). In Colorado, most school districts p rovide their own transportation services as opposed to contracting out the service to a private operator. As of 2011, four districts in the state, including Pueblo County School District 70 and Woodland Park School District RE 2, used private firms to prov ide transportation services (Thaxton 2011). In the 2012 13 school year, Colorado school districts reported serving nearly 350,000 eligible students just shy of 50 million total miles (CDE 2014c). The number of students eligible for transportation has fluct uated and reported total miles have declined even as state enrollment has grown over the last five years (see Table 1). Table 1: State of Colorado School Transportation Activity, 2009 13 2 FY 2008 09 FY 2009 10 FY 2010 11 FY 2011 12 FY 2012 13 Pupils Tra nsported 349,120 333,710 334,414 344,079 347,028 Total Miles 53,655,006 52,712,903 54,188,529 53,365,360 49,982,014 Current Operating Expenditures ( T ransportation) $202,384,615 $205,975,209 $204,546,773 $209,701,420 $213,737,058 Note: Aggregated school district data from CDE 2014c The nature of school transportation varies by the type of community served by the school districts across Colorado. The most prominent differences are population density and the size of school districts, which vary tremendousl y. Generally, rural districts transport a larger share of their students (see Figure 1) over longer distances than their more urban and suburban counterparts. For these reasons, rural districts allocate a larger share of their overall operating budget to t ransportation (see Figure 2) despite benefiting from a lower per mile cost of transportation. 2 Note that the CDE school transportation information is collected for purposes of determining reimbursement rs to the reported number of pupils eligible for district transportation.
6 | Figure 1: Average Share of Enrolled Students Eligible for District Transportation, 2009 12 Pupils Transported ) and NCES enrollment and locale codes from the Common Core of Data. Figure 2: Average Transportation Share of Current Operating Budget by Locale Type, 2009 Curre nt Operating Expenditures ) and current spending and locale codes from the Common Core of Data. Federal policy, through th e No Child Left Behind Act, increased the responsibility of districts to provide transportation and access to alternative schools for students in certain low performing schools. Although a fairly large number of Colorado student s were eligible for such services, in the 2011 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% City Suburb Town Rural Students Eligible to be Served by District Transportation (%, average) 0.0% 0.5% 1.0% 1.5% 2.0% 2.5% 3.0% 3.5% 4.0% 4.5% City Suburb Town Rural Transportation Current Operating Budget Share
7 | provided transportation to a nother higher performing school in the district, at a total cost of UFPA 2014, 28). During the 2007 08 school year DPS reportedly spent 35 minutes across town to the closest high performing school, which was Bradley Elementary in beyond traditional busing approaches to school transportation as members of the school board OPEN ENROLLMENT In Colorado, the popularity of open enrollment, or school choice, which allows students to attend a school other than the one assigned to them, has i mplications for school transportation. Colorado has had its open enrollment law in place for over two decades I ts In 2007, nearly 17 percent of Colorado public school students did not attend their neighborhood school (Rouse 2007). The 2013 14 school year saw more than 76,000 students, or nearly 9 percent of state enrollment, attending schools in a different district t han the one in which they lived (CDE 2014a). 3 In DPS, a reported 41 percent of students enrolled outside of their catchment area school in 2009 (Meyer 2009b). In some ways, school choice systems reduce the demand for district provided school transportatio n based on existing policies. At the same time, they raise concerns over who is able to participate in school choice since choosing a different school is typically accompanied by an increased transportation burden for families. Choice schools that are ope n to students within an entire district may not be able to utilize existing district transportation services depending on district policy. This has led to alternate arrangements in some cases. For example, a private transportation provider Access Transpo rtation Solutions based in Commerce City serves STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Magnet Lab School and Hulstrom K 8 School in the Adams 12 S chool D istrict. Families make payments for the service directly to the private provider on a quarterly basis. 3 This figure excludes students with out of state and out of country primary residences.
8 | Although little research has been done on the topic, parental surveys in Denver provide information on the relative importance of transportation and school location in determining 32 percent of parents followed by 26 percent who cited location and convenience as the primary consideration for their choice of school telling is the fact that families with children in of those who placed their children outside the neighborhood schools (44 percent versus 9 16). Proximity to a school and the related regarding where to send their children to school. NONTRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND TRANSPORTATION SERVICES The wid e availability of nontraditional public schools in Colorado adds to the transportation complexity that accompanies open enrollment. This section describes the transportation issues related to charter schools, innovation schools, and pilot schools. Charter schools, with their increased autonomy and flexibility in personnel practices, are more active than traditional public schools in ex pan ding learning time (for evidence, see Kolbe, ble to provide more learning time under similar budgetary constraints as traditional public schools is that they are not required to provide transportation to their students (Farbman and Kaplan 2005). In Colorado, then, it is necessary to understand what t ype of transportation services are offered by charter schools, many of which have longer school days and years consistent with national trends. The C olorado D epartment of E ducation (CDE) addresses the availability of transportation for charter school atte ndees by observing that: Due to finances and the need to pay for facilities out of operating revenue, many charter schools do not provide bus transportation for students. Parents often organize car pools to provide transportation. Public transportation is used in some areas when it is available. Some charter schools do have agreements with their school district for bus service. Whenever this is done, the agreement is in the written charter/contract (CDE 2012).
9 | Despite being allowed to opt out of providing transportation, charter schools in Colorado are address the transportation process (see Col orado Charter Schools Act 22 30.5 106. Charter application contents). A review of charter school application examples made available by the Colorado Charter School Institute suggests that charter schools deal with transportation in a variety of ways. On e transportation departments and parents to establish car pools and identify possible public Colo rado Springs 2012). This nontraditional schools (see the Schoolpool section below for details). Other charter school applications highlight the importance of siting and f acility selection in supporting the transportation needs of future students. By optimally locating the school, charter schools can minimize transportation as a barrier to student access. For example, New Legacy Charter High School describes in its applicat ion that its facility must be accessible from Charter High School 2 013). Montessori del Mundo even ties its transportation plans to equity concerns and the goal of securing foundation support for general transportation assistance: Equity also includes access to school for diverse populations. We are currently seeking a fa cility within easy walking distance of low income housing; however, we believe that daily transportation would greatly increase access for low income families to our school. While we do not currently have funding to support daily transportation, we are see king foundation funding or alternate funding that would help us support such a program (Montessori del Mundo 2012). There is limited insight into charter school transportation as an optional service. Secondhand reporting in 2008 on an informal CDE survey f ound that only 13 of the 76 responding charter schools provide d transportation to students. Nine of the 13 schools providing transportation did so internally, while the remaining four contracted with their school district for
10 | transportation (Charter School Solutions 2008). 4 Given the limited share of charter schools offering transportation services, it appears that the availability of transportation has not been a substantial barrier to ex pa nding learning time in such schools. In Colorado, charter schools are not the only option for parents and students in search of greater educational autonomy. At the state level, innovation schools are increasingly common, and districts such as Aurora Public Schools have experimented with pilot school designations. How do these different types of schools, which frequently adopt expanded school days and years, receive transportation services from their school districts? According to the C DE (2 013 ), 92 percent of applicants for innovation status request state waivers related to time and calendar (see Table 2 below, for the specific statutory provisions). vation schools expanded the day, week, or year to provide for one or more of the following changes: teachers, adding opportunities for students to receive assistance within the school day or after school, and/or increasing time to pursue project Table 2: Time and Calendar Waivers of State Statutory Provisions Statutory Provision Waived Total Number of Innovation Schools Requesting Percent of Innovation Schools Requesting Sect. 22 32 109(1)(n)(I) (local board duties, schedule and calendar) 34 92% Sect. 22 32 109(1)(n)(II)(A) (local board duties, hours of teacher pupil instruction and contact) 34 92% Sect. 22 32 109(1)(n)(II)(B) (local board duties, school calendar) 34 92% Source: Fuller 2013, 11. N o innovation school applicant s have requested a non automatic state waiver from the 013). Innovation schools receive per 4 The cited blog entry is the only publicly available evidence of the survey and its results.
11 | pupil funds including amounts to be used for transportation. The schools, at least according to a number of innovation plans in DPS, reserve the flexibility to purchase administrative services, such as transportation, food services, facility management, maintenance, student services and substitute teachers, from Denver Pu blic Schools or other providers. In practice, innovation schools have largely utilized district provided transportation services. Schools appear cognizant, however that altering their schedules and calendars has implications for transportation services. Centennial an e xpeditionary l earning school in DPS wrote in their ange request for the 2014 15 school year and for subsequent years thereafter with the department of Further, a report on the early experiences of innovation schools noted that one school was informed by their dis trict retroactively that they would need to pay for the costs created by their schedule change (e.g., transportation), whic h the school did not anticipate Innovation school plans to date have included a number of creative transportation proposals ranging from taking advantage of being a co located school (a school within a school) to providing bus transportation from a number of feeder schools to the innovation school. autonomy of district schools is affecting core services, including transportation. In response to a question about changes made since innovation status was received, DPS notes that it has as food services, transportation, professional development, etc.) to discuss how the central service department can meet the needs o f a diverse customer group before a school turns to one of the considerations to school day or calendar changes along with the impact of such According to district policy, pilot schools in Aurora Public Schools with nonstandard bell times
12 | changes can be ac commodated. Otherwise, the school could be charged for the associated cost entitled to transportation services per school board policy, but additional costs may accrue based on program specifics (Hupfeld 2009). This potential for additional costs to district provided transportation services for pilot schools appears consistent with the experience of some innovation schools. Access to school transportation is uneve n across nontraditional public schools. Charter schools, regardless of school day length or calendar structure, lack district provided transportation in most cases (for a notable exception, see the section below describing the Success Express shuttle syste m in DPS) Innovation schools, on the other hand, can benefit from the existing district transportation system (if their students qualify for such services based on district policies) but must coordinate with the district for support of alternate day and c alendar structures. The innovation schools may, alternately, seek external transportation services. The following section moves beyond the discussion of transportation availability for nontraditional public schools to consider the specific issues related t o transportation in schools with ELT programs. IMPLICATIONS OF TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS FOR EXPANDED LEARNING TIME SCHOOLS Transportation is a prominent issue for schools and districts considering ELT programs because schedule changes impact the rest of the system In some districts, the transportation department has the authority to set bell times for schools where as for others it is a more collaborative process. Changing school bell times often adds transportation costs if the tier system is disrupted. Transportation planning is based on school bell times and is frequently a joint exercise between the transportation department and instructional official s. Longer school days do not necessarily require greater levels of service, but they may require sched uling adjustments to the existing transportation routes in order to maintain efficient use of the bus fleet.
13 | Ex pa nding school years has a more direct impact on transportation needs If only a single school, or even a handful, have longer school years the n buses must remain in service for that smaller number of students and overhead costs maximize efficiency by serving multiple schools with a single bus. On the other hand, these impacts depend on the types of schools ex pa nding their school years. For example, when Manual High School expanded its school year there was reportedly little scheduling impact since high school students do not receive traditional yellow bus service in DPS Charter schools with expanded year calendars do not t ypically recei ve district bus service anyway. R estructuring both the school day and the school calendar ha s routes is limited or the number of buses in service on a daily basis must increase. Given that these additional costs can be quantified, school districts can determine whether chang ing school schedules and calendars is worth the additional expense. Although transportation appears to be a meaningful consideration in ex pa nding learning ti me, a selling point of adding time to the school day or year is that many costs do not rise proportionally with the increase in learning time. Transportation is considered one of those automatically with additional le arning time (Roza and Hawley Miles 2008 4 ). Whether or not an ELT school is required to provide transportation to its students influences the overall costs of such programs. For example, charter schools reportedly redirect savings from not providing trans A recent report reviewed the associated costs of expanded learning time in four schools across the country (Kaplan, Farbman, Deich, and Clapp Padgette 2014) and f ound that transportation costs represented only a small share of the total program costs (see Table 3, below). In fact, there are no reported incremental transportation costs for the move to an expanded day schedule for McGlone Elementary in DPS. For the o ther schools, transportation costs ranged from 2 to 3 percent of the total costs of implementing expanded day and year programs (Kaplan et al 2014).
14 | Table 3: Reported Transportation Costs in Four Expanded Learning Time Schools School State Expanded Tra nsportation Costs Total Costs Share of Total Costs Notes Day Year Griffith Elementary AZ X $5,000 $174,000 2.87% costs are relatively low, because most students walk to school; additional costs include: fuel/ maintenance for one regular bus and one special education bus (during the added 20 School 26 NJ X X $14,289 $717,294 1.99% bus routes for 20 McGlone Elementary CO X $0 $560,400 0.00% N/A (p. 26) Orchard Gardens Pilot School MA X $21,578 $964,445 2.24% 37) Source: Kaplan, Claire, David A. Farbman Sharon Deich, and Heather Clapp Padgette. 2014. Financing Expanded Learning Time in Schools: A Look at Five Distri ct Expanded Time Schools National Center on Time & Learning/The Wallace Foundation. The importance of transportation to any given school depends on the geographic area from which it draws students. A neighborhood school with an expanded day program may ha ve little additional demand for transportation services if most students live so close to the school that they can walk. The grade levels served by a school also matter, since schools serving higher grades tend to be larger and draw students from a broader area. At the same time, the changing eligibility for school transportation as students move into higher grades means that qualifying for service based on distance becomes more difficult. Although expanded year programs can increase transportation costs, a n unintended benefit may be an improved ability to retain bus drivers whe n the school calendar is lengthened. In 1999). At that time, DPS was losing around 70 bus drivers at the end of each school year as bus drivers secured summer employment elsewhere. Fairly significant up front costs exist when
15 | hiring a new bus driver due in part to state certification and training requirements and these investments are lost with driver turnover. At the time, Douglas County School District round employment because many of its schools operate on a year Beyond the district and school perspec tive s parents face the daily obligation of getting their children to and from school regardless of the length of the school day. We solicited feedback from a small number of parent s in Denver area schools with identified ELT programs and asked them about their school transportation options and how ELT programs have alter ed their transportation needs and routines. The parents in ELT schools consistently reported that the expanded day or expanded year has caused them to alter both the transportation of children to and from school and coordination with after school activities. One parent commented that the late end of the school day makes it difficult for her children to participate in after school activities and for her to nts without the children miss ing school. A lterations to transportation are not necessarily perceived negatively however. A nother parent highlight ed the benefits to working parents of being able to drop off children earlier and pick them up later because o f the expanded day. School transportation must be flexible to support changes in the structure of the school day and year and this flexibility has real costs either indirectly, in the form of coordination and planning effort s, or direct ly, as costs asso ciated with increased service levels. Although limited anecdotal evidence suggests that these costs are relatively minor depending on the existing system, the need to alter existing district transportation service to accommodate changes to the day and yea r may keep school leaders from even considering such actions. A DPS contingent upon the district transportation department them Even af ter a highly contentious school level consideration of adding time to the day, the ability to change the bus schedule may keep the proposed change from being implemented (Schimel 2014 b ). The principal, after submitting the schedule change request to the transportation department to accommodate lengthen ing the school i f
16 | 2014 b ). Possibly of equal importance is the role that transportation p willingness to consider restructuring or ex pan ding the school day. T he same DPS elementary school struggled to get buy in from some parents for a longer school day in part due to d the late hours their students will spend b ). After considering the relationships between transportation and longer school days and years, the following section examines the availability of transportation options in Colorado scho ols identified as having expanded learning time. EXPANDED LEARNING TIME SCHOOLS AND TRANSPORTATION AVAILABILITY IN COLORADO To get a general sense of the availability of transportation for ELT schools in Colorado, we compiled a list of schools with exp anded days or expanded years along with their transportation availability using a number of sources. Although imperfect, we first created an inventory of Colorado schools with known ELT programs from media coverage. The primary sources were articles in The Denver Post (Boulder) Daily Camera and EdNews Colorado (now Chalkbeat Colorado ), which documented, for example, a DPS effort to introduce more time into roughly eight schools ( Poppen 2012 ) and the districts and schools participati ng in the TIME (Time fo r Innovation Matters in Education) Collaborative supported by t he Ford Foundation and the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) (Haigh 2013 ) In addition to these media sources, the Rose Community Foundation provided a spreadsheet with school programs that had been classified as expanded learning opportunities (ELO s ). When publicly available, w e also reviewed district provided school bell schedules and start end date listings to identify additional schools with relatively long days or years. To conside r an even broader range of schools, we then turned to t he d atabase of e xpanded t ime s chools. The NCTL database includes self reported information on public schools with an expanded school schedule that applies to all students. These sources resulted in a list of approximately 170 potential ELT schools in Colorado
17 | calendar for the 2013 14 school year to determine whether classification as an ELT school was warranted. In many cases, current schedules no longer reflected reports of longer school days and years. The schedule and calendar information was supplemented with documenting whether district provided school transportation is generally available for the school or if other transportation options w ere offered. Of course, defining expanded learning time is in itself a challenge, which is why our initial criteria for inclusion on the list were quite lenient. There is no commonly agreed upon definition of expanded learning time. For example, for the 2 011 12 school year the NCTL used both absolute and relative measure s of school time to judge whether a school should be considered an expanded time school for inclusion in its database. The considered public schools and be to their school day (NCTL n.d. ) A school might also qualify as an expanded time school based on the NCTL criteria if t heir school year is compared to ET school s pre n.d. ). T hese longer school days and years must apply to all students based on the NCTL criteria As can be seen from the NCTL crit eria, the classification of an ELT school is a relative exercise a compar ison both to peers and to its own historical school day and year. The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) provides the best, although still limited, view of school days and calendars to serve as a benchmark. Based on the 2007 08 SASS surveys, the average school day nationally is 6 hours and 45 minutes with the daily time in school increasing slightly with the school year for students is reportedly 180 days long (Kolbe, Partridge, and O .). For Colorado, the average school day is 7.01 hours and the average number of school days in the year is 171 according to the SASS (U.S. Department of Education n.d .) Our approach to narrowing the list of schools identified as potential expanded time p rogram s reflects the desire to ensure that the increase in time is meaningful for students. The NCTL criteria, Colorado averages for school day and year length from the SASS, historical school
18 | schedules where available, and the average number of student contact days for the 10 largest school districts in Colorado (174 days) were all used to assess each identified school. We retained schools with roughly more than half an hour per day longer school days as compared to the Colorado average. In a small number of cases, a school was kept on the list if its hours were especially long for a school serving the elementary grades. Press accounts of schools that had added substanti al time to the school day compared to previous years (typically 45 minutes to an hour per day) were also retained. School year length was compared to the district average when available or to the Colorado large district average when unavailable. The le ngth of the school day was not looked at in isolation from the length of the school year. initially on the list have added time to the typical school day along with a weekly early release or late start day for teacher professional development. The net effect is often that total time in school looks average. For example, adding 30 to 45 minutes per day Monday through Thursda y and having a two hour early release day on Friday results in weekly time staying the same or increasing by only one hour in total. The use of early release and late start days is especially common in charter schools. A number of schools were also includ ed because of a combination of factors that suggest they are expanding school time in a combination of ways not reflected solely in bell times and calendars For example, the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) campuses were included despite hav ing fewer than average student contact days and longer school days partially offset by a weekly early release day. All new students are required to attend summer school programs running multiple weeks, some of the DSST campuses have extremely short passing periods that expand classroom time, and high school students have summer program requirements between the junior and senior years. Although not required for all students, DSST also has a second dismissal that ex pa nds the day for students who are required to attend for schoolwork related reasons or for participation in c ollege p rep activities. DSST has reported its instructional time to be 1,248 hours per year which is significantly higher than the norm in DPS middle schools (Brennan 2012).
19 | In the end we narrowed the list to 7 9 schools with a meaningful increase in learning time through some combination of longer school days and years. 5 Based on the list, we are able to draw some general conclusions about the types of schools expanding learning time i n Colorado and whether their students have school based transportation options available to them. These schools average 39.5 hours per week of school time and just less than 180 school days (recall that Colorado schools average 7 hours per day and 171 days per year according to the SASS) Hours per week range from a low of 30 to a high of 50, while student contact days per year range from 167 to 207. A slight majority ( 59 percent ) of the identified public schools are charters, with the remaining representin g innovation schools (23 percent ) and traditional public schools ( 18 percent ) (see Table 4 ). Table 4 : Identified ELT Schools by School Type, 2013 14 School Type Number Percent Charter 47 59 District 14 18 Innovation 18 23 Total 79 100 Source: Autho Using the identified schools, we can also examine the characteristics of schools in Colorado that e xpand time compared to other schools. As seen in Table 5 there are substantial differences including ELT schools having smaller average enro llments (about 10 percent smaller) than other schools across the state. The identified schools also have a much higher average share of students eligible for free and reduced lunch programs with 73.7 percent of students qualifying as opposed to 45.3 perce nt for other Col orado schools. In general, the ELT schools double the average share of students who are non white (82.1 percent compared to 41.3 percent). Even more dramatic is the overrepresentation of African American students in identified ELT schools (14.3 perc ent) relative to other Colorado schools (3.4 percent ). 5 Manual High School was included as an ELT school, although it has since returned to a more traditional schedule and calendar ( Schimel 2014a ).
20 | Table 5: Characteristics of Colorado Schools Expanded L earning Time Schools Other Schools Number Average Number Average Enrollment 78 442 1 704 489 Free and Reduced Lunch Eligible Students 78 73.7% 1 704 45.3% African American Students 78 14.3% 1 704 3.4% Hispanic Students 78 61.2% 1 704 31.4% Non White Students 78 82.1% 1 704 41.3% Note: The number of ELT schools does not match the figure in Table 4 since district and state classificati on sometimes differ for schools serving multiple grade levels (for example, a school with a middle and high school). Dedicated preschool programs are excluded fr o m tabulations. d CDE school level data. The availability of district provided transportation differs dramatically across the types of ELT school s Charter schools receive district provided transportation services in 18 of 47 schools. Sixteen of these charter schools are served by the Success Express shuttle bus system in DPS and pay per student fees for access to the system. The additional two charter schools receiving district transportation contract with DPS for service. Four more of the identified charter schools, or a little more than 10 percent, offer transportation to their students using their own school specific bus routes (see Table 6 for details o n charter schools offering transportation services outside of the Success Express system). The uncommon availability o f school t o ensure that all students in our neighborhood get access to a high quality education, Atlas Prep has committed significant resour ces to providing our own bus (Atlas Prep aratory School n.d.).
21 | Table 6 : Identified ELT Charter Schools in Colorado with Transportation Service (Success Express participants excluded) School Distric t/Authorizer Description of Bus Service Atlas Preparatory School Harrison 2 Provide d bus service consisting of seven routes during the 2013 14 school year Chavez/Huerta K 12 Preparatory Academy Pueblo City 60 Provide d bus service consisting of six route s during the 2013 14 school year Community Leadership Academy Charter School Institute Free bus service available to students living within Adams 14 district boundaries KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy Denver County 1 Contracts with district for bus servic e Rocky Mountain Preparatory School Denver County 1 Contracts with district for bus service Scholars to Leaders Academy Charter School Institute The school has three school buses that serve the southeast and central parts of Colorado Springs Sourc e: Various school websites. Almost all of the identified innovation and traditional public schools receive district provided transportation, although the outsized involvement of Success Express in serving ELT schools is apparent. Nearly 38 percent of all t he identified ELT schools are served by Success Express. In one case, a traditional public school that is an open enrollment school does not receive transportation services except for certain student groups. Table 7 details the availability of transportati on services by school type. The geographic distribution of the ELT schools receiving transportation services, either through the district or school, is skewed heavily to schools located in Denver ( over 80 percent). Table 7 : District and School Provided T ransportation for Identified ELT Schools School Type District Provided School Provided Schools with Bus Service (District + School Provided) ELT Schools by Type Share of ELT Schools Offering Transportation Charter 18 4 22 47 47% District 13 0 13 14 9 3% Innovation 18 0 18 18 100% Total 49 4 53 79 67%
22 | This exploratory look at ELT schools and transportation in Colorado has a number of limitations. In creating the list of schools, the inability to view school days and yea rs over time for each school makes it difficult to identify schools that have made meaningful changes to their own learning time but still look average compared to other schools. Another challenge is that some schools have opted to restructure the existing school day to more effectively use time rather than explicitly adding time in a way that shows up on a bell schedule. Examples of such activity include the field testing of e xpanded l earning o pportunities in Jefferson County Public Schools during the 2012 13 school year (see Jefferson County Public Schools n.d.). These internal changes are not readily apparent and such schools are not included in the list of expanded time schools. Similarly, we lack visibility into how all of the identified schools are us ing the additional time and the quality of ELT programs is, at a minimum, equally as important as quantity. The add ing school time is primarily an urban or suburban reform, but it may also be an artifact of less information being publicly available from smaller school districts. Despite these challenges, district provided transportation is found to be available for more than two thirds of the identified schools. As expected, charter schools with longer school days and years are much less likely to offer transportation services to their students (unless served by Success Express in DPS) although a small number have established their own bus routes or contracted for the service The following section reviews a sample of Colo rado school district transportation policies to better understand the existing flexibility in the systems. SCHOOL DISTRICT TRANSPORTATION POLICIES Publicly available transportation policy documents were gathered and reviewed for a sample of metro Denver school districts and districts with known ELT schools The policies are discussed in this section and summarized on a number of dimensions with potential implications for ELT programs ( for details, see T able A1 in the A ppendix)
23 | REQUESTING BELL TIME CHANG ES Of the reviewed school districts, only DPS made publicly available information on how schools request changes to their bell times. The school schedule change request form provide s insight into the factors that need to be considered by districts when con templating changes to school schedules (see Exhibit A1, DPS Request for Schedule Change form in Appendix ) The request for bell time changes is broken into two components. First, schools must address the instructional impacts from the proposed schedule c hange S ome s chools have add ed time to the normal school day but then introduce d early release or late start days to block off time for teacher planning and development. An internal communicat ion discussing bell time modifications mentions the repercussions of these variable schedules i n the past, many schools have requested in excess of four to six different bell schedules for transportation services during the school year. This high number of requests has made it very challenging for Transportation to Suppes 2013, 1). Second, community impacts are detailed with special attention to the impacts on district d epartments, personnel, and evidence of (DPS 2013, 2 ). Given the complexities of scheduling school transportation, schools requesting (DPS 2013, 2) since that would potentially alt er existing bus tiers Overall, the process of requesting a change to the bell schedule forces school leaders to consider the impacts of the change on all students. The timeline for the process in dicates that schools need to decide whether to pursue a bell schedule change with plenty of lead time For DPS, the requests must be submitted by January 24, 2014 for the following school year (2014 15) and schools are to be notified of approval or denial within a month after the submission d eadline (Portee and Suppes 2013 ) DISTANCE THRESHOLDS In order for a student to receive transportation services, t he school district transportation policies we reviewed consistently increase the minimum distance from a home to the
24 | neighborhood (assigned) school as the school grade level increases. Exceptions to this pattern exist in some smaller districts and for schools serving both elementary and middle school students. In general, distance thresholds for rec eiving bus service for elementary students range from one to two miles with the most common threshold being greater than one mile from the assigned school. The thresholds increase for middle school students and rang e from one to three miles with an avera ge just below two miles. High school students have the highest distance threshold with two and a half miles as the most popular policy, although they range from one to three and a half miles. Although distance is the primary policy for determining transpo rtation eligibility, districts also frequently provide transportation to students in areas identified as hazardous for walking FEE FOR SERVICE BUSING The majority of school district s continue to offer transportation without charging additional fees. Distr icts may respond to budget pressures within the transportation service area by reducing service and associated expenses (possibly by introducing more stringent eligibility guidelines) or by creating a revenue stream tied to busing. Of the reviewed district s, only four charge fees for traditional bus service (Jefferson County R 1, Douglas County Re 1, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, and Academy 20) but these districts served a quarter of all Colorado students in 2013. 6 The fee structures vary across districts, but it is common to charge higher amounts for those not attending their neighborhood school. For example, in Jefferson County Schools schools. Differential pricing is off ered by some districts based on purchasing an annual pass or the number of students in a family (often with a cap on total family transportation fees) D istricts are required to offer fee waivers to families qualifying for the National School Lunch Program ree and r educed price meal guidelines Base annual fees are most commonly around $150 per student along with more nominal initial fees in some of the fee for service districts. 6 Calculation is based on pupil membership figures from CDE for the state and the four districts with fees (CDE 2014b).
25 | SPACE AVAILABLE BUSING The school district transportation documents sugg est that it is the norm for parents to be allowed to apply for bus service for children who do not qualify for district provided transportation. In all cases, the granting of such a request is contingent upon space availability. Space available busing is t ypically provided without additional fees to families although some districts charge differential fees for the service as seen in Mesa County Valley 51. The marginal cost of adding a single student to a bus with empty seats is close to zero and districts appear to support increased utilization of excess capacity. Anecdotally, space available busing has been used as a starting point for efforts to expand school transportation service as seen in the Near Northeast region of Denver prior to the implementatio n of Success Express and more recently in s outhwest Denver (Ely and Teske 2014) Districts differ in the level of information provided on their websites regarding the option of space available busing and how to apply for a seat TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY School transportation has benefited from the proliferation of radio frequency identification ( RFID ) technology especially in th e larger school districts (see T able A1 in Appendix ) With smart passes or cards, districts can now track transportation activit y using card readers on buses. Doing so can improve management of existing bus routes and, more critically, help districts locate students. The improvement in technology has implications for schools that expand their school days or year and districts that provide innovative transportation systems. As schools run either earlier or later in the day (or later in the year when fewer schools are in session) safety concerns exist and the RFID technology allows schools and, potentially, parents to know the where abouts of their children. In school transportation systems that serve multiple schools on the same bus line, such technology addresses the primary concern that children may inadvertently end up getting off the bus at the wrong location. This review prov ides a general sense of the standard school district transportation policies in larger districts in Colorado and possible implications for schools considering changes to the structure of their school day or year The next section consists of a number of ca ses
26 | documenting programs and strategies designed to address school transportation challenges in Colorado RESPONSES TO SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES From four day school weeks to cooperation with public transit agencies, school transportation challen ges have altered existing transportation practices. This section details a number of transportation related strategies or programs in Colorado, with a focus on the Denver metro area. Each topic is related to either providing school transportation under cos t constraints, in a more flexible manner, or expanding transportation services to schools and students ineligible for traditional district provided service. The section concludes with a listing of additional noteworthy school transportation practices that are less related to understanding how THE FOUR DAY SCHOOL WEEK The relationship between school transportation and learning time is especially salient in rural C olorado, where a surprisingly large share of scho ol districts operates on a four day school week schedule. A s of 2011 67 1 78 school districts ha d a four day school week in place (NCTL/ECS 2011; Lefly and Penn 2011 ) having grown from only th ree districts in 1980 ( Dam 2006 ) Although this represents more than a third of districts (for a list of four day school week districts in 20 10 11, see T able A 2 in Appendix ), these small districts serve less than 4 percent of students in the state (Lefly a nd Penn 2011). The reasons behind the shift to fewer school days revolve around financial considerations and transportation one of the primary service areas where savings are expected ( Dam 2006 ) According to the CDE ( Dam 2006 ), the costs of transporting students can drop by a share proportional to the reduction in days ( one out of five days of schooling eliminated would equal a 20 percent decrease in costs). The cost savings are not uniform across transportation budget categories. The primary sources of savings are labor costs, where work hours are reduced for
27 | transportation employees, and variable costs tied to buses actively being in service such as gasoline. Other transportation costs, generally those that are fixed including capital assets such as b uses and insurance costs are not substantially affected by the four day school week ( Dam 2006 ). Although the weekly mileage driven by school buses is reduced by a fifth for a four day school week the daily route demands for the remaining school days do no t change so bus fleet reduction s are not necessarily viable Although the four day school week does not reduce the minimum time spent in school, it does alter the distribution of that time. Districts are required to apply to the s tate for approval to hold less than the required 160 school days (Lefly and Penn 2011). In order to meet the State of Co lorado standards, the four day .5 hours per day for 144 days of school instead of the normal s ix hours for 180 days of school Lefly and Penn 2011, 3 ) The school time, therefore, remains constant to the four day school we ek ( Dam 2006 5 ). The longer day and shorter week raise a number of among the youngest students and the unavoidable fact that when a student is absent or school i s closed for a day the reduction in school time is proportionately larger than with a standard school day ( Dam 2006 5 ). On the other hand, the shorter school week may allow for less disruption to school time if families use the extra day to schedule appoi ntments (such as doctor and dentist) rather than during school time ( Dam 2006 ). The adoption of longer school days and years is typically targeted toward improving student outcomes, whether in core academic areas or by expanding enrichment opportunities. In schools with four day weeks, it is only natural to consider whether student performance is affected by the shortened week. Most of t he empirical evidence in Colorado, although limited, suggests that student performance is not negatively impacted by the four da y school week (Daly and Richburg 1984; Lefly and Penn 2011) A lternately, a recent study using matched pairs of districts did find day schools did slightly better than the four day schools, with 11 of 12 achievement results favoring five day sch 29) Other
28 | outcomes associated with the four day school week are also worth highlighting. Attendance for both students and teachers reportedly improves (Donis Keller and Silvernail 2009), while satisfaction of students, parent s, and teachers with the shorter school week is quite high with 80 to 90 percent supporting the existing four day week after it become s established (Dam 2006 ) The four day school week is a meaningful example of the trade offs made between transportation costs and the structure of school time in Colorado. DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS (DPS) SUCCESS EXPRESS 7 After years of setting the groundwork, DPS launched the Success Express shuttle bus service in ugust 2011. Now in its third transportation system that would provide opportunity for all students to utilize a service based on choice, location of their school of atte ndance, and providing school start and end time across the two regions where it was ultimately implemented. Success Express was a response to the call for impro ved transportation initiated from a collaborative process with parents and school and district leadership in the NNE, while in the larger FNE region the shuttle bus system was, in contrast, a piece of the overall turnaround strategy adopted by the district Moving away from the standard school transportation model meant rethinking how to flexibly serve multiple ages of kids attending schools with various start and end times. It also presented a dramatic change in the status quo, as parents no longer would s imply get kids to the bus stop (or pick them up) at a single time for a direct ride to school. The shuttle bus approach, although still using the ubiquitous full size yellow school buses, differs from a traditional school transportation system in a number of ways. Most dramatically, there are separate fixed routes in each of the two regions (see an example route map, Exhibit A2, in the Appendix). The generally circular routes are repeatedly traversed by the same buses in a manner similar to many public transit bus systems. 8 The system operates over an extended period of the morning 7 For a more detailed consideration of Success Express, see Ely and Teske 2014. 8 Because of budget pressures in 2011, Falcon School District 49 shifted to a fee for service transportation system that shared some common design elements with Success Express. The pared down bus routes in Falcon included a
29 | and afternoon, running from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., respectively. The continuous morning service currently offers two pick up times to get students to schoo l before the morning bell and one more pick up that will get them to school, but tardy. Although improved transportation service would typically be associated with higher costs, budget savings were expected from the shuttle bus system since it results i n fewer buses in service and improved utilization rates relative to the prior routes operating below capacity. The Success Express shuttle dramatically increased student access to school transportation in these growing Denver regions, especially for the ma ny charter schools that did not previously receive district transportation services. Nearly 60 percent of the schools served by Success Express are charter or innovation schools. The student characteristics also differ, with higher average concentrations o f minority and low inc ome students in Success Express served schools. The demographic differences reflect the regional focus of the shuttle service. A primary benefit of the shuttle bus system is the increased flexibility afforded schools in setting their start and end, or bell, times. A second advantage exists for schools offering after School based decisions to expand learning time through longer days and years have resulted in tremendous diversity in time spent at school across the district. As might be expected with the school turnaround effort in the FNE, students in schools served by Success Express had longer estimated average school days and more hours per year than other district schools in the 2013 school year. More fundamentally related to time in school, regularly getting to school safely and on time in the morning, as well as being able to participate in after school programs without concern for gettin g home, undoubtedly has positive impacts on student outcomes. With Success Express, missing the bus no longer has to mean missing the entire school day. A key concern that surfaced as the program began was the length of bus rides for some students und er the new system. For example, riders boarding at one end of the loop and combination of circuit busing and corridor busing age students riding the same buses ( Iodice 2011 ). The new system, which was not implemented without controversy, allowed both charter school and choice students to participate as long as families were willing to pay the district for the rides and deliver their children to and from designated bus s tops ( Iodice 2011 ).
30 | disembarking at the other had rides extended since each shuttle made every stop on the route. The district responded by breaking up some of the capacity on the routes and at key ti mes providing some longer distance shuttle runs that did not make all of the interim stops. The concern over long ride times becomes even more pressing for students in schools with expanded school days since the door to door time away from home may become excessive. After the initial six months of service, a number of ridership patterns became clear. Transportation utilization increased relative to the year prior to Success Express implementation (DPSDOT 2012). Afternoon ridership is reported to be slight ly higher than morning ridership, suggesting that the service is being used to accommodate after school activities and parent work hours that extend beyond the end of the school day (for details, see DPSDOT 2012, 11 12). The shuttle bus system served 25 ac tively participating schools in the FNE and 14 in the NNE in its initial school year (DPSDOT 2012). The number of schools served has grown to roughly 45 in 2013 14. The nature of the shuttle bus system and its multiple stops present a clear trade off betw een improved transportation flexibility and school access versus the increased length of ride times. The shuttle bus system has increased access to transportation and preferred schools throughout the regions. The system has also supported the increasing nu mber of schools in the regions with longer school days or school years. Although shuttle bus schedules still must accommodate school start and end times and varied ridership demands, the system supports school level discretion in setting start and end time s. BOULDER VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT (BVSD) TRANSPORTATION EFFICIENCY EFFORT In December 2012, Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) became a part of the multi state TIME Collaborative to support the development of ELT schools. Upon joining the c ollaborativ e, Assistant Superintendent Sandy Ripplinger commented but some need more time That can mean before school, after school, a longer school year or summer programs. We want to look at what s most effective and wha t works in different
31 | c ollaborative include d Angevine Middle School Centaurus High School, Pioneer Elementary School and Sanchez Elementary School Although the school s in the c ollaborative have explored different ways to add time and improve the use of that time, BVSD and its superintendent, Bruce Messinger, began an effort to improve the efficiency of its transportation services in response to budgetary pressures Tra nsportation as a support service is a frequent target of cost reduction efforts as school district officials attempt to protect instructional resources. Ex pa nding the school day demands flexibility at the school level to set start and end times, but this d iscretion can be at odds with efficient transportation systems that maximize the number of schools served by a single bus. Schools in BVSD have, re portedly, enjoyed discretion in setting bell times but a n assessment conducted by an external transportation consulting firm, Management Partnership Services Inc., concluded that this practice resulted in a costly tr ansportation system (Bounds 2013 a ). 9 The trade off between cost and school level flexibility is apparent in the reactions to the report. For exam ple, the p resident of the BVSD Board of Education noted schedules. If you want to put more money into the classroom, we re going to have to give up The report estimated an average a nnual cost per bus in cluding capital costs of $ 88 400 which is at the high end of the range nationally (MPS 2013). According to the analysis, the distribution of bell times is a primary reason for the higher e xpenditures along with 2013, 2 ). Specifically, rather than each bus serving three schools per day (a frequent objective of school districts referred to as being [,] some 33% less efficient than 2013 1 ). The report finds that the many different bell schedules result in 27 additional buses in service on a daily basis (MPS 2013, 45 ). A shift back to the classic three tier bell time schedule is recommended in the report with an expected reduction of 40 buses and annual financial savings of appro ximately $2.5 million (MPS 2013, 47 ). 9 It is important to note that the BVSD Transportation Department received high praise from the MPS report for many of its management practices.
32 | The proposed savings from bell schedule changes are nearly as large as the budget reductions adopted in the spring of 2012, $1 million of which were reportedly absorbed poverty On the other hand, transportation costs in BVSD represent only 7 percent of the operating budget in fiscal year 2012 (MPS 2013). The BVSD leadership explicitly acknowledges that standardization of bell schedules to improve transportation efficiency will impact schools and service levels BVSD Superintendent Messinger raises the point that some bell times were set to support school programs, while others might just be artifacts of more arbitrary decisions made long ago. As the process to revise the existing transportation system was under way, Messinger addressed finding the appropriate balance between efficiency and support for schools We do need to have more centralized controls, but we want to still be responsi (Bounds 2013 a ). In April 2013, BVSD announced a transportation management plan approved by the school board in March recommendations. The plan included fleet and route adjustments, the latter including corridor busing where stops are placed on major thoroughfares rather than deeper within neighborhoods in addition to the bell time standardization (Bounds 2013b). Ultimately, the plan call s for standardized lengths of school days by the age group of students served in the cuts in transportation service cited safety concerns and petitioned BVSD as 41 bus stops were to be eliminated (Bounds 2013c). Shortly after the parent concerns were raised, the district announced it would delay implementation of the ne w transportation management plan for a (Bounds 2013d). The current t ransportation m anagement p lan includes recommended changes be implement ed in three phases although the ultimate timeline is now unsettled (see Table 8 for details).
33 | Table 8 : Boulder Valley School District Transportation Man agement Plan Phases Phase Actions Phase 1 (2013 14) 1. Discontinue t ransportation service from previous walk hazard areas now designated safe travel areas within designated walk distance to school. c orridor b 3. Coor dinate school para educator time with bus arrival time at schools 4. Coordinate p re K and/or s pecial e ducation program times with school general bell times. 5. Improve Initiate Infinite Campus integration with Edulog. 6. Begin fleet configuration reductio n. Phase 2 (2014 15) 1. Standardize length of school day for each level 2. Adjust attendance boundaries. 3. Reevaluate ESL placement at elementary schools. 4. Pilot new bell schedules for Monarch High School feeder attendance area. 5. Evaluate and revis e a ctivity t rip costs. 6. Fleet configuration reduction. Phase 3 (2015 16) 1. Adopt three tiered bell system 2. Fleet configuration reduction Source: Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) Transportation Department. Transportation Management Plan http: //bvsd.org/transportation/Documents/Transportation_Management_Plan.pdf A number of the proposed changes may have implications for ELT efforts in the district. T he planned standardization of the school day length by grade levels served may limit the abilit y of schools to add time to the school day if it is strictly applied. On the other hand, if times are standardized across all school levels at the long end of the existing range then there might be time gains for the average student. For an effective tier system in BVSD (where a bus can serve multiple schools) Bob Young, the d irector of t ransportation, explain ed that 45 minutes is needed between bell times at the schools served by the same bus (2014). The plan to implement corridor busing, where the bus s tops are moved to major roads, has been delayed but is not, on its own, incompatible with various school bell times and calendars. Whether transportation is a barrier to implementing longer days or years in a given school depends, as previously mentioned, on whether a school is currently receiving transportation services. I n BVSD, the impact of any transportation service changes on expanded time schools is limited by the fact that a number of these schools are open enrollment schools (such as Pioneer Eleme ntary) and are ineligible for school wide transportation services regardless of schedule. The district does support student transportation when a student is administratively assigned to
34 | such a school, typically due to the presence of a n English Language Learner /Englis h as a Second Language ( ELL/ESL ) program, and offers the option of space available busing when feasible. Although BVSD is facing changes to its transportation service levels in order to reduce costs, the district has been an innovator in school transportat ion policies especially those supporting alternative modes of school transportation Program offers a range of services broadly supporting school transportation. E ducation offerings includ e the promotion of c ycling through the Bike Lesson and Safety Training (BLAST) program participation in the Safe Routes to School i nitiative and operation of the Trip Tracker reward system to incentivize alternative school transportation methods. The TO School Program also serves as a clearinghouse of information by providing a T ransportation Network Directory to participa ting families, which includes location information on families within a school to assist in coordinating transportation options. In addition to having prev iously consider ed the ability to operate a circular shuttle bus system in BVSD the district continues to explore solutions to the transportation challenges present in a district with widely varied population density across a roughly 500 square mile servic e area (MPS 2013 ). A shuttle bus model similar to Success Express in DPS, does not appear to fit the demands of BVSD, but a linear system with similarities to a public transit syst em remains under consideration a ccording to BVSD Director Young (2014) Th e uncertain implementation of the proposed transportation management plan in BVSD illustrates the challenges in finding the appropriate balance between transportation costs and flexibility, as well as central administrative control and school level program matic discretion. DENVER REGIONAL COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS (DRCOG) SCHOOLPOOL PROGRAM Challenges abound for families and schools that must arrange daily and occasional transportation for students qualify for district provided transportation The need for coordinating transportation options is most salient in nontraditional schools where district provided transportation is less common. Even where district provided school transportation is available to some it is still common for families to need a lternative transportation for reasons
35 | including ineligibility enrollment, failing to qualify for service due to distance eligibility thresholds, and having a child participating in afte r school activities that are not accommodated by the standard bus service. These transportation challenges have undoubtedly increased as more students attend schools outside their neighborhood and travel distances grow. For decades, the DRCOG has helped connect individuals in the greater Denver area through ride sharing programs. These efforts are collectively part of the Way to Go program, fo rmerly called RideArrangers. Schoolpool is a program within Way to Go that attempts to overcome many of the information barriers encountered by families trying to connect for mutually beneficial school transportation arrangements. 10 At the same time, the program supports positive environmental benefits by reducing traffic congesti on and pollution. Schoolpool matches families at a school (or even nearby schools) based on the proximity of household residence s. The program is a more sophisticated equivalent to the traditional use of bulletin boards within schools to connect people aro und common interests or goals. Once matched, families can organize not only carpools but biking groups, walking school buses (where a group of kids walk to school together) or even pair buddies for using public transit to get to school. Nearly 70 schools spread across the greater Denver area actively participate in the Schoolpool program (see Figure 3 below, for a map of participating schools and Table A3 in the Appendix for a list of participating schools). As one of the larger programs of its kind Schoolp ool performed over 15,000 family matches in the 2013 14 school year The majority of the demand for the service comes from nontraditional schools without formal transportation services, including charter and private schools. The program is directly markete d to schools by Way to Go and is also available to individual families. Finding successful matches for carpooling, as well as other modes of transportation, depends on achieving a critical mass of participants from similar geographic areas. 10 For more information on the Schoolpool program, see http://waytogo.org/getting around/sch oolpool Other school carpool matching programs are active in Colorado, including Metro Rides Springs.
36 | Figure 3 : Source: Denver Regional Council of Governments. n.d. Schoolpool Map of Participating Schools http://www.waytogo.org/getting around/schoolpool Schools have two different options for their famil ies to participate in the program. First, a school can provide Schoolpool with the ir entire student roster with address information. Each family on the roster then receives a personalized list of matches with nearby families unless they explicitly opt out of participating in the program. Families are able to make arrangements based on the matches. The majority of Schoolpool participants come from this marketing approach. The second approach is more common in traditional public schools, where the school elec ts to participate in the program but does not make student information available to Schoolpool unless families explicitly opt in to the program. Regardless of how a school participates in the program, families are always given the option not to participate Concerns about the privacy of personal information are addressed by restricting access to matches within a school (unless a parent opts for additional matches with nearby registered families) and using
37 | school specific password protected websites to acces s information (or a dedicated u niform r esource l ocator web address). The central role of families in the process is highlight ed by the fact that Schoolpool does not perform any background checks on the family matches (for example, reviews of driving recor ds or insurance information). If school transportation is especially challenging for disadvantaged families, then it is fair to question whether the Schoolpool program is broadly available to families with less access to technology or who primarily speak a language other than English. The program addresses such concerns by communicating by mail when no email address is front process also accommodates a paper based approach. Schools, as well as families, c an indicate a language preference, which designates whether the communication of match information is provided in English or Spanish. The mapping of matches can also indicate the primary language spoken by the identified families to aid in communication. T he free program supports cooperative transportation efforts, but t he ultimate success of the program depends on how many families use the match information to pursue alternative forms of school transportation. P rogram participation over represents the impa ct on transportation since it include s many families that do not alter their existing transportation arrangements. A survey of Schoolpool participating families provides insight into the effectiveness of the program in supporting alternative transportatio n arrangements. Of the 38 percent of respondents who carpool to school, about a third report having used the Schoolpool match information to arrange th e car pool in 2013 (Corona Insights 2014, 3). Since 2011, the families participating in the Schoolpool pr ogram have drastically shifted toward children attending nontraditional public schools. Specifically, the nontraditional public school families increased from 58 percent of Schoolpool survey respondents in 2011 to over 70 percen t in 2013 (Corona Insights 2 014, 3 ). The car pool is by far the most common form of cooperative transportation for those receiving the Schoolpool match information O indicated that their children ever walk or ride a bike to school with another child who also are doing so inf requently (Corona Insights 2014, 4 ).
38 | School and parent interest in the Schoolpool program increases when budgetary pressures lead school districts to increase the minimum distances for transportation eligi bility. The Schoolpool program offers the necessary, and free, infrastructure for schools to help connect families and improve transportation options. Its use by nontraditional public schools suggests that it is especially valuable in the absence of formal district based transportation programs. The service broadly supports families work ing together to overcome school pick up and drop off challenges that accompany family work schedules, having kids in multiple schools, participation in after school activiti es and schools with atypical school day s and years. PARTNERSHIPS WITH PUBLIC TRANSIT AGENCIES Leveraging the capabilities of public transit agencies is appealing to school districts, especially for schools with longer school days or years, but there are limitations to such cooperative arrangements. F ederal law restricts the exclusive provision of dedicated school transportation routes by public transit agencies receiving federal financial support ( FTA 2005 ) There are additional challenges to using public transit system s for comprehensive school transportation especially for younger students In the Denver Boulder metropolitan area, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) provides bus and light rail transportation services In response to recommendatio ns from the Boulder Transit Access Options Task Force in Boulder in 2010, Assistant Superintendent Joe Sleeper detailed some of the limits to using public transit for school transportation. Sleeper explained that replacing BVSD with RTD bus passes is probl ematic s not Cooperation between public transit agencies and school districts can occur in a number of ways. A joint effort between Greeley Evans Transit (GET) and Greeley Evans School District 6 began promoting public transit service and the availability of student bus passes to students and families in 2013. T he impetus for the increased attention to transportation was, according to Northridge Principal Wes Paxton, trying to match students with the most appropriate pr ograms regardless of location: Each high school has different programs The district want s
39 | students to take advantage of the opportunity career pathways offers regardless of what school boundaries they live in. This is part of how we encourage students to do so (Peif 2013). In the Denver metro area, t he online RTD Trip Planner supports stude nt use of their system by allowing route searches based on specific middle and high school location s (see http://www.rtd denver.com/Schedules.shtml ). RTD also offers discounted monthly fare passes as of March 2014, to students in elementary through high s chool (6 to 19 years of age) for $39.50. In 1999, the efforts of DPS school board member Rita Moreno and Action for a Better Community resulted in an RTD partnership with DPS offering student bus passes with additional deep discounts to select high schools in DPS, including Lincoln, Manual, Montbello, North, and West High ( Illescas 1999 ) distances to school, encourage participation in after school activities and promote attendance School districts themselves also serve as a clearinghouse for school specific public trans it information for their students and families, especially for those who do not qualify for traditional dis trict provided bus service. As recent ly as 2011, DPS made available RTD route information for a selection of schools, primarily high schools, which included the closest routes and stops for each school. The TO School Program in BVSD provides RTD route maps for each district school on its website. In the aftermath of the 2013 Colorado flood s BVSD even linked a district run student shuttle serving Nederland students to Boulder High School where they could connect with either district or RTD buses to get to their own schools (Rubino 2013). School districts in the Denver area work with RTD to improve se rvice to schools through revising existing routes, adding new routes, or adding to the number of buses running during peak times. An example is increase d frequency of RTD buses during peak times for routes serving Platte Middle School and Boulder High School in BVSD (Young 2014 ) Service from RTD can support student transportation, but ultimately routes need to have enough riders to remain in effect ( for an example, see Snider 20 10). Closer collaboration comes when a school district replaces its own transportation system, or a portion of it, with existing public transit bus routes. In early 2004, DPS proposed shifting transportation eligible high school students from district
40 | prov ided transportation to RTD buses. a bout 2,400 high school 2004). The rationale for the DPS proposal was to push back start times for high schools from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. which has been shown to be advantageous for student performance while also saving money. At the time, only 3,0 00 of the 17,000 high school students in DPS were eligible for district provided transportation and j ust more than half of those actually rode the district buses on an average day. In place of district service, DPS planned on purchasing RTD bus passes school buse s, drivers salaries and gas department executive director at DPS (Hubler 2004). The service impacts for those switching to RTD service were also expected to be quite limited to doo only three minutes longer (Hubler 2004). The proposal was met with opposition from parents, who were most concerned about the safety of students (Sherry 2004) [has been] no record of any security preceding the policy change (Leib 2004). In addition to promising to work with DPS on safety concerns, RTD underscored that its buses are equipped with both cameras and alarms (Leib 2004). Pri ncipal support for the proposed change was more mixed T he Montbello High School principal at the time Hansel l Gunn, seized on the flexibility of the RTD based system commenting I could run the school like a c (Sherry 2004). The plan was approved by the DPS school board in March 2004 with the primary change from the initial plan being more flexible start times for the high schools ranging between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. with the latest end times movi ng to 4:15 p.m. from 2:30 p.m. (Rouse 2004). The range of start times was expected to reduce stress on the RTD bus system a fixed 9 a.m. start would have had students heading home from school on RTD buses at the peak afternoon travel time and would
41 | (Leib 2004). The district estimated savings of $750,000 from moving high school students to RTD buses even after providing monthly bus passes (at $19 per month) to the eligible hig h school students request ing passes. The district e xpected that nearly half of the transportation eligible students would participate (Leib 2004). A ssuming passes were only provided for nine months per school year t he estimated annual cost for the RTD pas ses would have range d from $256,500 ( with the district s expected participation ) to $513,000 ( with full participation by eligible students ) Although DPS anticipated cost savings from the switch to public transit RTD e a break even deal for the transit district the fact that DPS would pay for any new bus service demands (Leib 2004). 11 The original rationale for the switch to RTD service remains prominent in the DPS RTD transportation policy. Specifically, DPS notes designed for only those schools [that] were already receiving yellow bus transportation to allow schools to set later (flexible) start times (primary) and as a financial means to reduce the budget (secondar DOT 2012 ). The district touts a number of student benefits from the RTD pass, including tudents can use the RTD pass outside of school hours llows for work study develops life skills ccess to p arks and recreation Charter high school students and students not attending their neighborhood school are generally ineligible for the RTD pass, but a wider range of students may access the pass through magnet and special programs includin g the Newcomer Program, English Language Acquisition, and Transitional Native Language Instruction at South High School, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) at Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, East, West Generation and West Leadership schools, and the Career Education Center (CEC) (DPSDOT 2012). 12 Denver voters approved a ballot measure in November 2012 to opt out of property tax revenue access to city recreation centers the City and County of Denver and began to unify access to youth oriented city programs by 11 There are also some risks to depending on an external organization for school transportation. In 2006, an RTD strike l ed to reduced service and temporarily impacted high school attendance rates across the district ( Sherry 2006 ). 12 See the complete RTD pass eligibility criteria for DPS high school students in Table A4 in the Appendix.
42 | serving as the identification for both libraries and recreation centers. Denver officials continue to con sider expansion of the services managed through the MY Denver Card Although its feasibility remains unclear, the idea of adding a discounted RTD transit pass to the MY Denver Card has been considered (Neil 2014). Public transit systems play an important role in school transportation, especially for high school students, choice students, and students ineligible for district provided service. At the same time, the public transit role has traditionally been lim ited by both federal restrictions and the different service demands of the two systems. In Colorado, school districts and public transit agencies have cooperated at various levels with DPS, in its urban setting, able to go the farthest by outsourcing its existing system. NOTEWORTHY SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION PRACTICES IN COLORADO The examples detailed in this report focus on relevant school transportation programs that have direct implications or lessons for supporting ELT programs in Colorado schools. Other cases show that innovative school transportation practices exist throughout the state that are less closely related to supporting longer school days or years In some cases, school transportation has played a key ro le in supporting broad education reform efforts. In addition to the Success Express example, DPS more recently eliminated assigned middle schools within the Greater Park Hill/Stapleton shared boundary area. Within the boundary area, families will choose am ong five middle school options without priority placement based on residential proximity to a school DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg believes the single enrollment zone will increase diversity within the middle schools and that the approach h breaking Removing the guarantee that a child can attend the school closest to her or his makes transportation concerns even more salient The district will support the enrollment policy ch ange by making transportation to each of the five middle schools available from each middle school campus. Students will be responsible for catching the bus from the middle school closest to their home or, if needed, from designated community stops (DPS 20 13 ). The middle school options within the shared boundary area represent traditional, innovation, and charter
43 | schools including those with expanded school days and years. The policy change will i ncrease district provided transportation to ELT schools and no ntraditional public schools. Other examples of innovations in school transportation includ e intra school shuttles in Jefferson County Sch ools, late run buses that serve different neighborhoods for middle school students in Littleton Public Schools ( to su pport after school activities ) parent organized transportation efforts for families not served by school districts, raising revenue to offset school transportation costs through advertising on the sides of buses (for example, see Gray 2011), the strategic location of ELL/ESL programs to reduce transportation burdens for families and districts and the introduction of hybrid school buses to reduce fuel consumption and emissions (Whaley 2009) CONCLUSION The coordination of s chool transportation is increas ingly important as schools desire more discretion in designing the structure of their daily schedules and annual calendar s T he growth of open enrollment and school choice in Colorado has shifted some of the transportation burden away from districts and on to families which should not obscure its continued relevance Even though many ELT schools do not qualify for or receive district provided transportation services it is impossible to tell how many public schools fail to consider changes to the school day or year because of the need to maintain their existing transportation options. Although bus scheduling is a significant challenge, existing transportation services can often accommodate limited bell time changes with minor cost implications. The ability o f students, especially from disadvantaged families, to take advantage of longer school days and years depends more heavily than ever on the availability of transportation when the se programs are located outside neighborhoods with demonstrated need Existin g practices in Colorado illustrate a number of paths to improving the flexibility of school transportation systems. The tight coupling of bus schedules across schools highlight s the importance of district systems to prioritize scheduling demands based on t he actual and
44 | expected programmatic impacts at the school level. Determining how to balance these student outcomes with potentially higher costs of transportation service will demand sophistication and direction from district level policymakers. Improved s chedule coordination across schools within a district, especially those serving different grade levels, is essential to maintaining efficiencies in transportation while supporting school level discretion The transportation programs detailed here some of which were instrumental in broader school reform efforts, can inform future practices to support changes in school schedules and calendars Expanding time in school along with programmatic changes offer s promise to school improvement efforts T he school t ransportation challenges and responses presented here remind policymakers not to overlook simply getting the students to these schools in the first place.
45 | REFERENCES Atlas Preparatory School. n.d. 2013 2014 Transportation Form. http://www.atlasprep. org/pdf/bus.pdf Aurora Public Schools/Aurora Ed ucation Association (APS/AEA). 2013 Aurora Public Schools Pilot Schools Manual http://aurorak12.wpengine.netdna cdn.com/wp content/uploads/2013/06/Pilot school manual updated for August 20131.pdf Blevins, Jason. 1999 D eficit ritical P rivate S ector B eats O ut S chools The Denver Post March 21, A1. Bounds, Amy. 2012 S chools to E Colorado Hometown Weekly December 5. 2013a Boulder Valley C ons ultant: Varying B ell S chedules C ontribute to H igh T ransportation C osts. (Boulder) Daily Camera March 17. 2013b. Boulder Valley C hanging B ell S chedules to R educe B us C osts: Three Y ear P lan W ill R esult in uge C hange (Boulder) Daily Camera April 23. 2013c. Boulder Valley P lanning to R educe B us S ervice, A ffecting H undreds of S tudents. (Boulder) Daily Camera June 6. 2013d. Boulder Valley School District B acks O ff B us S ervice C uts for F all. (Boulder) Daily Camera June 11. Brennan, Ch M ulls L onger D ay for M iddle S chools EdNews Colorado January 30. Charter School Solutions. 2008. Charter School Transportation. http://blog.charterschoolsolutions.org/2008/02/charter school transportation.html Chin, Christine. 2012 Co lorado Innovation Schools Act Annual Report Colorado Department of Education. Colorado Charter Schools Act. 22 30.5. http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdechart/chact Colorado Department of Education (CDE). 2012. Colorado School Transportation Facts 2010. http:/ /www.cde.state.co.us/sites/default/files/documents/cdenutritran/download/word/trans /coloschooltransfacts2010.doc 2013 Innovation Schools Waivers 2013 14
46 | 2014 a 2013 Pupil Membership Districts Serving Non District Students. http://www.cde.sta te.co.us/cdereval/fall2013studentsattendingpublicschoolsnotinparentsdistri ctofresidencexls 2014b. 2013 District Rankings by Pupil Membership. http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdereval/fall2013districtrankingpupilmembershiphightolowxls 2014 c Fiscal Y ear 2008 09 through Fiscal Year 2012 13 Historical Transportation Data 2014. http://www.cde.state.co.us/transportation_history. n.d. Colorado Charter Schools Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdechart/faq#sthash.HipBlsts.dpuf C olorado Department of Education Unit of Federal Programs Administration (CDE UF PA). 2014 No Child Left Behind Colorado State Report Card 2011 12 http://www.cde.state.co.us/sites/default/files/NCLB%20Report%20Card%202 20 14.pdf Corona Insights. 2014. Sur vey of Schoolpool Families: 2013 Denver Regional Council of Governments. Daly, Jos eph L. and Robert W. Richburg. 1984 Student Achievement in the Four day School Week Office for Rural Education, Colorado State University. Dam, Ai. 2006 The Four day Sch ool Week Office of Educational Services, Colorado Department of Education. Denver Public Schools (DPS). 2013. Greater Park Hill/Stapleton Middle School Shared Boundary Enrollment Packet for 2014 15: Middle School Transportation 2014 15 School Year. http:/ /transportation.dpsk12.org/wp content/uploads/2013/12/GPHSSharedBoundary_ENG.pdf Denver Public Schools Department of Transportation (DPSDOT). 2012 DPS RTD Transportation Pass Eligibility Facts http://transportation.dpsk12.org/wp content/uploads/2012/12/ DPS RTD Pass Eligibility.pdf n.d. RTD Pass Eligibility http://transportation.dpsk12.org/eligibility/rts pass eligibility/ Donis Keller, Christine and David L. Silvernail. 2009 Research Brief: A Review of the Evidence on the Four Day School Week Center for Education Policy, Applied Research and Evaluation, University of Southern Maine. Ely, Todd and Paul Teske. 2014. Success Express: Transportation Innovation in Denver Public Schools, A Case Study for Mile High Connects The Center for Education Policy Analysis, School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver. Farbman, David and Claire Kaplan. 2005. Time for a Change: The Promise of Extended Time Schools for Promoting Student Achievement. Massachusetts 2020 http://www.mass2020.org/files/ file/Time for a change(1).pdf
47 | Federal Transit Admin istration (FTA). 2005 Public Transportation and School Buses http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/SchoolBusBrochureJanuary19 2005.pdf Fuller, Jessica. 2013. Colorado Innovation Schools Act: 2013 Districts of Innovation Annual Report Colorado Department of Education. Global Village Academy Colorado Springs. 2012. Charter School Application Submitted August 31, 2012. ogram to Offs et Operation Costs School Transportation News February 10. S chool D ays in S tore for S ome in 5 S The Denver Post November 12. Hewitt, Paul M., and George S. Denny. 2011. The Four Day School Week: Impact on Student Ac ademic Performance. Rural Educator 32 ( 2 ) Hubler, Eric. 2004 S tart for H igh S chools? Backers of DPS P lan S ay I t C ould B oost S tudent P erformance, C ut B using C osts The Denver Post February 5 B1. Hupfeld, Kelly. 2009 Options for Autonomous Scho ols in Colorado: A Handbook for School and District Leaders The Center for Education Policy Analysis, School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver. Illescas, Carlos. 1999 B us P asses to E ase S chool T rip for S ome S tudents The Denve r Post September 5 A32. 49 s F ee B ased B us S ervice F ar from B reak E ven P oint The (Colorado Springs) Gazette July 9. Jefferson County Public Schools. n.d. Expanded Learning Opportunities 2012 13 Final Report Kaplan, Cl aire, David A. Farbman, Sharon Deich, and Heather Clapp Padgette 2014. Financing Expanded Learning Time in Schools: A Look at Five District Expanded Time Schools National Center on Time & Learning/The Wallace Foundation. K olbe, Tammy, Mark Partridge, and Fran National Center on Time & Learning Time and Learning in Schools: A National Profile National Center on Time & Learning/Center for Education Policy Analysis University of Connecticut. Lefly, Dianne L. and Jhon Penn. 2011 Comparison of Co lorado School Districts Operating on Colorado Department of Education. Le ib, Jeffrey. 2004 F lexible S tart P raised The Denver Post March 22 B2. Management Partnership Services, Inc. (MPS) 2013 Transportati on Assessment Final Report Prepared for: Boulder Valley School District
48 | Meyer, Jeremy P. 200 9a ansit I ssues S nag S chool C hoice The Denver Post July 18 B2. 2009b The Denver Post November 2 A15. W illing to P ay M ore The Denver Post November 7, 5V. Montessori del Mundo. 2012. 2012 Charter School Application for Charter School Institute August 22nd, 2012 Munro, Laura and Jennifer Arzberger. n.d. Centennial: A School for Expeditionary Learning http://www.cde.state.co.us/sites/default/files/Centennial_Innovation_Plan_Final.pdf National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL). n.d. Expanded Time Schools Database Criteria. http://www.timeandlearning.org/expanded time schools database criteria National C enter on Time & Learning/Education Commission of the States (NCTL/ECS) 2011 Learning Time in America: Trends to Reform the American School Calendar, A Snapshot of Federal, State, and Local Action tunity in the Denver Region Present ation at Housing, Transportation, and Education Nexus: An I nvited, N ational P olicy S ymposium, February 12, 2014. New Lega cy Charter High School. 2013. Charter School Application for the Colorado Charter School Institute Submitted August 14, 2013 Peif, Sherrie. 2013 GET to S chool B us P rogram K icked O ff T his W eek Greeley Tribune January 11. EdNews Colorado July 16 http://co.chalkbeat.org/2012/07/16/dps launches extended learning pilot/ Po rtee Nicole and David Suppes. 2013 Denver Public Schools Interdepartmental Communication: Bell Time Modification Request and Athletics Input Timeline Price, K elci M., Amelia Challender, and Bonnie Walters 2011 Crafting an Innovation School: Findings fro University of Colorado Denver: The Evaluation Center, School of Education and Human Development. Rouse, Karen. 2004 F all, Denver K ids W ill R ide to S chool on RTD The Denver Post March 19 A1 Since 1991, R edefining C ommunities The Denver Post January 14, A10. Roza, Marguerite a nd Karen Hawley Miles. 2008 Taking Stock of the Fiscal Costs of Expanded Learning Time Center for American Progress. Rubino, Joe. 2013 E stablishes Boulder Ne derland S tudent S huttle (Boulder) Daily Camera September 20.
49 | Schimel, Kate. 2014 a. S tep B ack from N ational I nitiative, Manual E nds Y ear R ound S chooling, L onger D ay Chalkbeat Colorado February 26. http://co.chalkbeat.org/2014/02/26/in a step bac k from national initiative manual ends year round schooling longer day/ 2014 b D ay D ivides S chool C ommunity at Denver E lementary S chool Chalkbeat Colorado April 14. http://co.chalkbeat.org/2014/04/14/longer day divides school community at denver elementary school/ Sherry, Al lison. 2004 B uses, L ate S tart at Denver H igh S chools O pposed The Denver Post March 5 B1. 2006 S chool S tudents F orced to T ake a H ike, B eg for R ides The Denver Post April 4 A12. Snider, Laura 2010 P lans to C ut Lynx B us R oute between Louisville and Broomfield (Boulder) Daily Camera January 26. Teske, Paul, Jody Fitzpatrick 2009. Drivers of Choice: Parents, Transportation and School Choice Center on Reinventi ng Public Education, University of Washington. B us S ervice O ptions: Privatize? Make R iders P http://www.koaa.com/news/school bus service options privatize make riders pay / Torre s, Zahira. 2013 C ombines B oundaries The Denver Post June 21 6A. Urie, Heath. 2010. T ransit G roup: End O pen E nrollment, E xpand S tudent W alking Z (Boulder) Daily Camera April 29. U.S. Department of Education n.d. Public School Data File, 2007 08. National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) Vincent, Jeffrey M., Carrie Makarewicz, Ruth Miller, Julia Ehrman and Deborah L. McKoy. 2014. Beyond the Yellow Bus: Promising Practices for Maximizing Access to Opportunity t hrough Innovation s in Student Transportation Berkeley: Center for Cities + Schools, University of California. E ngine on the B us G oes The Denver Post January 14 B2. Young, Bob. 2014. Phone conversation with Todd Ely March 3
50 | ACKNOWLED GMENTS T hank you to those individuals who graciously contributed their time and experiences through inter views and discussions about school transportation and expanded learning time including: Mia Bemelen, Way to Go Specialist, Denver Regional Council of Governments Pauline Gervais, Former Executive Director, DPS Transportation Department Pam Martinez, Co Executive Director, Padres & J venes Unidos Nola Miguel, Council Aide, City and County of Denver Nicole Portee, Executive Director, DPS Transportation De partment Bob Young, Director, BVSD Transportation Department We also thank Allison Tung and Rachel Ibarra student s at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs for t he i r outstanding research support. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Todd L. Ely is a ssi stant p rofessor at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. His research and teaching focus on the financing of state and local public services, education finance and policy, and public and nonprofit financial management. Paul Tes ke is d ean and d istinguished p rofessor at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. His research is centered on education policy, regulatory policy, and urban policy. He has written books and articles on urban location choices, sch ool choice, incentive based teacher pay plans, and related education topics. Mile High Connects is a broad partnership of organizations from the private, public and nonprofit sectors that are committed to increasing access to housing choices, good jobs, q uality schools and essential services via public transit. By increasing resources, influencing policy, working with residents and leveraging the current and expanding m etro Denver transit system, Mile High Connects will use transit to promote a vital reg ion full of opportunity for everyone. Mile High Connects mission is to ensure that the m etro Denver regional transit system fosters communities that offer all residents the opportunity for a high quality of life.
51 | APPENDIX Table A1: School District Tran sportation Policy Review School District (ordered by student count) Explicitly Mentions ELT S chool Transport Distance Thresholds for Receiving School Transportation Parents Pay : Exemptions for FRL E ligible and IEP R equired Space Available Application Onl ine Charges Fees for Space Available Riders (amount) Use Public Mass Transit Transportation Pass Technology (e.g. student tracking) Elementary (1 5) Middle (6 8) High School (9 12) Jefferson County R 1 No 1 mile from neighborhood school (PK no ne, K > 1 mile but no midday service) 2 miles from neighborhood school 2.5 miles from neighborhood school Yes: $150/year for assigned schools. $200/ year for options schools $75/year for intra school shuttles. Yes Yes: $200/ year for enrolled stu dents or students ineligible for bus service No two weeks of school, students will need to show their pass upon boarding the Denver County 1 Success Express and RTD pass 1 mile from boundary school and hazardous walk areas for EC E 5 2.5 miles from boundary school 3.5 miles from boundary school No Yes No RTD bus pass for grades 9 12, unless Success E xpress Yes: +Pass tracks real time ridership on district bus Douglas County Re 1 No Specific designated regions schoo ls Specific designated Specific designated Yes: $.50 each one way trip and max $1/day, with $25 initial Zpass fee (annual rides discounted to $150) M ay be handled through Special Needs Leadership Team No No Zpass card w/ RFID (radio frequency identification)
52 | Cherry Creek 5 No 1 mile from assigned school for K 5 + options to designate certain schools /boundaries as non transported 1.5 miles from assigned school + options to designate certain schoo ls/boundari es as non transported 2 miles from assigned school + options to designate certain schools/bound aries as non transported No Yes No No No Adams 12 Five Star Schools No There is a walking distance cutoff, but it is calculated by address There is a walking distance cutoff, but it is calculated by address There is a walking distance cutoff, but it is calculated by address Yes: monthly $15/child or $30/ household if 2+ children for maximum of $300/year Yes Yes: monthly $15/child No Zpass card w/ RFID, PK/K bracelets and MS/HS IDs Adams Arapahoe 28j (Aurora Public Schools) No 1.25 miles from school within attendance boundary for K 5 and K 8 + exceptions 2 miles from school within attendance boundary for 6 8 ; 1.25 miles for K 8 + exceptions 3 mile s from school within attendance boundary for 9 12 + exceptions No No (space available mentioned on a school site with approval) No No Zpass card w/ RFID Boulder Valley Re 2 No 1.5 miles 2 miles 2.5 miles No Yes No No No St Vrain Valley Re 1J No 1.5 miles from school in home attendance area 2.5 miles from school in home attendance area; 1.5 miles if K 8 school 2.5 miles from school in home attendance area No Yes No No No Colorado Springs 11 No 1.25 1.5 miles within attendance area boundaries 1.5 2 miles within attendance area boundaries 2 2.5 miles wi thin attendance area boundaries No Yes No No No
53 | Poudre R 1 No 1 mile from neighborhood school 1.5 miles from neighborhood school 2 miles from neighborhood school No Y es: c an also apply for alternative location, medical, and v o t ech transport No No No Academy 20 No 1.5 miles from school of attendance 1.75 miles from school of attendance 1.75 miles from school of attendance Yes: $.50/ride to assigned school (max $500/ye ar); $.60/ride to choice school (max $600/ year); $10 initial fee; annual pass discounts and fee waivers available Yes Yes: $.70/ ride (max $70/ month, $700/year); $10 initial fee; annual pass discounts and fee waivers available No Yes: RFID cards Mesa County Valley 51 No 2 miles from neighborhood school 3 miles from neighborhood school 3 miles from neighborhood school No Yes Yes; ($10/ month) No No Weld County 6 (Greeley Evans) No 1.25 miles from neighborhood school 1.5 miles from neighborhood school 2 .25 miles from neighborhood school No Yes No No No Sheridan 2 No 1 mile from assigned school 1 mile from assigned school 1 mile from assigned school No No: p rincipal approval needed No No No Englewood 1 No 1 mile from assigned school No No No No No No No Note: Information in table was gathered from active school district websites.
54 | Table A2: Colorado School Districts with Four Day School Weeks, 2010 11 School Year District Name October 2010 Student Count District Name October 2010 Student Count AGATE 30 0 33 233 AGUILAR REORGANIZED 6 97 KIM REORGANIZED 88 56 BIG SANDY 100J 300 344 BRANSON REORGANIZED 82 464 211 142 503 585 435 52 LONE STAR 101 104 CEN 234 272 CHERAW 31 204 MIAMI/YODER 60 JT 294 204 MOFFAT 2 191 CREEDE 1 88 1 132 392 MOUNTAIN VALLEY RE 1 106 471 185 1 426 520 DEER TRAIL 26J 151 PEYTON 23 JT 651 567 76 DOLORES COUNTY RE 2 278 PLATEAU VALLEY 50 442 167 120 EAST GRAND 2 1 271 166 EDISON 54 JT 206 PRIMERO REORGA NIZED 2 205 ELBERT 200 213 60 ELLICOTT 22 929 PUEBLO COUNTY 70 8 562 185 435 154 SANFORD 6J 318 337 296 HANOVER 28 210 260 HAYDE 378 237 HINSDALE COUNTY RE 1 80 TRINIDAD 1 1 352 102 198 HOEHNE REORGANIZED 3 323 429 266 213 537 99 Source: Lefly, Dianne L. and Jhon Penn. 2011. Colorado Department of Education 16 17.
55 | Table A3: Schoolpool Participating Schools, 2013 14 School Year American Academy Castle Pines Jefferson Academy Charter School American Academy Parker Lakewood High School Aspen Academy Legacy Academy Aurora Academy Charter School Lincoln Elementary School Belle Creek Charter School McAuliffe International School Ben Franklin Academy McKinley Thatcher Elementary School Bishop Machebeuf High School Morey Middle School Challenge School Northglenn High School Cherry Creek Academy North Star Academy Cornerstone Christian Academy Parker Core Knowledge Charter School D Evelyn Jr./Sr. Hi gh School Peak to Peak DCS Montessori Charter School Platte River Academy Denver Academy Prospect Ridge Academy Denver Jewish Day School Regis Jesuit High School Denver Language School Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen Denver Montclair International School Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning Denver School of the Arts Ryan Elementary School Denver Waldorf School Sims Fayola International Academy Downtown Denver Expeditionary School SkyView Academy DSST: Byers Southeast Christian Schoo l DSST: Cole St. Mary s Academy DSST: College View St. Thomas More Catholic School DSST: Stapleton Stanley British Primary School Eagle Ridge Academy Charter High School Stargate Charter School Excel Academy STEM Launch Fairview High School STEM Magn et Lab School Flagstaff Academy STEM School and Academy Fremont Elementary The Academy Girls Athletic Leadership School Twin Peaks Charter Academy Global V illage Academy Northglenn Valor Christian High School Hamilton Middle School Walnut Hills Elem entary High Point Academy Welchester Elementary Horizon High School Westlake Middle School Source: Denver Regional Council of Governments n.d. Schoolpool List of Participating Schools http://www.waytogo.org/getting around/schoolpool
56 | Table A4: Establ ished Denver Public Schools Regional Transit District (DPS RTD) Transportation Pass Eligibility Parameters (for high school students grades 9 12) 1. Students who are 19 years old or younger (RTD regulated) 2. Students must live within the District attenda nce area 3. Students must live outside the School Board established walk zones (3.5 miles high schools) 4. 5. Charter Schools are ineligible for District Sponsored DPS RTD Passes 6. Students must attend the 7. Student who attend a magnet program or school International Baccalaureate (IB) @ George Washington Newcomer Program @ South English Language Acquisition (ELA) @ South Transitional Native Language Inst ruction (TNLI) @ South No Child Left Behind (NCLB) @ Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, East, West Generation and West Leadership Students who are registered @ Career Education Center (CEC) who meet all other parameters and are not eligible for the pass from their home school Students at Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) who also meet parameters 1 thru 3 Students at Denver School of the Arts (DSA) who also meet parameters 1 thru 3 Other Considerations 8. There are cases when one member of a family is eligible but another is not. This usually happens when the family members may both attend the same school but one is enrolled in a Magnet Program t 9. Homeless students under the McKinney Vento Act processed thr ough the Educational Outreach Program (EOP) office are eligible for the DPS RTD pass. 10. Initially the parameters were set up and designed for only those schools who were already receiving yellow bus transportation to allow schools to set later (flexible ) start times (primary) and as a financial means to reduce the budget (secondary). Other Schools/Programs using RTD Passes 1. Emily Griffith High School issues DPS RTD passes to their students; they reimburse Transportation for each pass issued. Source: Denver Public Schools Transportation Services. August 2012. DPS RTD Transportation Pass Eligibility Facts http://transportation.dpsk12.org/wp content/uploads/2012/12/DPS RTD Pass Eligibility.pdf
57 | Exhibit A1 : Denver Public Schools Request for Schedule Change Form
58 | Source: Denver Public Schools (DPS). Request for Schedule Change. December 2013. http://transportation.dpsk12.org/wp content/uploads/2013/12/RequesttoModifyBellTime_Form.pdf
59 | Exhibit A 2 : Success Express Near Northeast Schedule, 2013 14 School Year
60 | Source: Denver Public Schools Department of Transportation. 2013. Near Northeast Success Express! 2013 2014 Schedule August, 2013 Edition. http://transportation.dpsk12.org/wp content/uploads/2012/09/Success Express Near Norhteast Printer Friendly.pdf