Ludington schools bond: Walkability and transportation.

May 2, 2019

Ludington schools bond: Walkability and transportation.  

LUDINGTON — On Tuesday, May 7, voters in the Ludington Area School District are being asked to decide on a 2.32 mills bond issue which will build a new kindergarten through fifth grade complex, and completely renovate the middle school/high school complex, among some other facility improvements (see more details here).

The district has been asked several questions about the bond. Superintendent Jason Kennedy sat down with MCP recently to answer some of the questions. Over the next week, we will run a series of posts with answers to many of the questions. These questions and answers also appear on the district’s website. The accompanying video includes Kennedy’s full interview. 

Q: What about walkability to school? 

A: The District values creating safe routes to school. The District studied the amount of students who walk to school and determined that 4% of students in the District regularly walk to school, with the number of walkers rising slightly during warmer weather months. These are also the students who identify walking to school as their primary mode of transportation to school. All students living in the District are provided the opportunity to ride the bus to school, and if approved by voters, the District’s plan to transport students will significantly improve the safety of our students to and from school, as outlined in the next question.

Q: Will moving the elementary school as one campus to the Outcalt property cost the District more money in transportation costs? 

A: Actually, significant improvements will be made for students should voters approve the bond proposal regarding transportation. First, students who ride the bus from the secondary complex spend between 30-45 minutes on the bus waiting at each of the schools to pick up elementary students before the buses leave school to drop students at home. Students board the bus at the secondary complex, and then are taken to each elementary school to pick up elementary students. This creates wait time at each school for buses and the students on the buses. All buses finally converge on Foster Elementary as the last stop before being able to take students home. This results in students on the bus for longer periods of time, significant idle time at each of the schools, and increased costs for the District. Being able to pick up students at the secondary complex, and then being able to pick up all elementary students at one building will create significant improvements, including not only cost savings to the District, but more importantly, an improved rider experience for students as there is less down time on the bus waiting at each of the schools for students to be picked up. 

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