INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Public Schools board approved a plan Thursday night that will put some students on public transportation next school year.
About 600 high school students will be selected to take IndyGo buses to and from school starting this fall. The students who will be moved off of IPS buses included those who have a "total journey time" of less than 50 minutes, including time spent walking to the bus stop, waiting for a bus and riding to school and have a total walking distance of less than 0.7 miles from their home to the bus stop and from the bus stop to school. Also, students selected for IndyGo buses will not have to transfer buses on their route.
IPS said 90% of the students moved to public busing would have a shorter trip to school than they currently do on IPS buses.
Additional students, including those with a 60-minute journey time, a walk of less than a mile and one bus transfer have the chance to opt-in to using IndyGo buses instead of IPS busing to get to and from school.
“This decision didn’t happen overnight. There has been a tremendous amount of research, conversation and many options generated,” said IPS Board President Evan Hawkins. “I appreciate the thought that’s gone into scaling the IndyGo partnership. While change isn’t always easy, this will be good for the district and our students.”
Earlier this month, parents had a chance to address the school board about the transportation plan. Many raised concerns about the safety of putting their child on a public bus each day.
In a response, in part, to those concerns, IPS is implementing programs to help families impacted by the move make the transition. Among those programs are identifying "student ambassadors" who already ride IndyGo buses and can help new students adjust to the new transportation, including safety procedures and giving families free trial rides on IndyGo buses before the school year.
The district is also planning a "Walking School Bus Program" to set routes for families to meet up with other students and chaperones to walk to school together.
“We are committed to the continued engagement and support of our families to ensure a transition that is smooth as we’re able to make it at the start of the next school year," IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said after Thursday's vote.