, Derry, New Hampshire

January 9, 2014

School officials ponder adding more buses

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — School officials are looking at next year’s bus totals while anticipating a potential surge in development in the northern part of town.

School district business administrator Peter Curro told School Board members he hopes to add one and a half buses to next year’s fleet to serve new development areas near Exit 5, where new homes are being built.

Talks about busing were part of recent budget workshop as district officials ready for its budget hearing on Jan. 16.

Adding another bus would serve students of all ages. The half-bus route would take care of kindergarten students in that end of town, Curro said.

“We are anticipating much development in that northeast quadrant of town,” he said.

That area is near Auburn Road and Poor Boy’s diner where new developments are booming, with a potential of 200 more homes being completed in the next two to three years, Curro said.

The transportation money falls under the district office portion of the budget, proposed at $22 million for next year, or 33 percent of the total school budget, Curro said.

Although there are no anticipated changes in next year’s bus routes due to adding a new bus, current routes are still a sticking point for some residents.

Wilshire Drive resident Mitchell Feig told School Board members he hoped the district might make a simple change in his neighborhood.

Only a handful of students gets on a bus at the corner of Wilshire and Currier, something Feig said would be made easier if the stop was moved closer to students’ homes.

Right now, his son and the others walk about 600 feet to catch the bus.

“It’s not logical to have the kids walk 600 feet to the corner,” Feig said. “We live on a side road and it can get pretty icy.”

Feig said he hoped the stop could be moved, but Curro said that most likely will not happen.

Routes are set at corners in developments for the middle school and high school students. Most riding the bus meet at those corners.

“By no means is this a unique situation,” Curro said. “That’s how we design the middle and high school routes. We can’t just do it for one route.”

Elementary routes are planned differently to serve the much younger students.

Curro said often a special circumstance might warrant a bus route being moved to accommodate a student who might have a broken leg or other situation.

Feig still hoped something might be changed.

“We are just saying move the stop,” he said. “It won’t cost (the district) any more money.”

School Board Chairman Nancy Hendricks told Feig the group would take his request under consideration.