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Medford Schools to Reduce Buses from 18 to 16, Merge Minuteman Bus

The district is facing rising costs for transportation, according to officials.

In a cost-saving measure, Medford Public Schools will be using two fewer buses than last school year, according to Superintendent Roy Belson.

As part of the consolidation, a bus previously dedicated to Medford students attending Minuteman Regional High School in Lexington was eliminated, Belson said.

Instead, a bus will pick up Medford students attending Minuteman, drop them off in Lexington and return to Medford to run routes for Medford Public Schools, Belson said. After making a run of elementary school drop-offs in the afternoon, the bus will return to Lexington to pick up Minuteman students at 3:30 p.m., about an hour after the school day ends, except on Wednesdays when it will arrive in Lexington at 2:30 p.m., Belson said.

Belson had previously eliminated the bus to Minuteman in the school department's budget and called for MBTA passes to be distributed to students instead. That drew the ire of parents of students at the vocational school, some of whom are also unhappy with the new arrangement.

"We’ve met our obligation as far as the state is concerned, though it may not be what everyone had wanted," Belson said.

By eliminating the bus solely for Minuteman, Medford schools will save about $80,000 this school year, Belson said. The bus cuts were a result of a combination of increased funding to the regional school and rising costs of bus contracts, Belson said. Buses cost $250 per day last year compared to $310 per day this year, he said.

Belson said the state will look into regional vocational schools like Minuteman, which are allowed to accept students from outside their region. Most of their tution is paid for by their home municipality's public school system, which also pays for transportation.

Medford is paying over $1 million to Minuteman this school year in tuitions, more than double what it did a few years ago, Belson said.

"They say they don't increase their cost," Belson said. "Believe me, they do."

Adem Althor September 01, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Thanks Jarret. I'll make a note of that.
medford citizen September 03, 2012 at 04:19 AM
KC the 7:15 arrival time is just belsons estimate!! First day of school the bus arrived at 6:56 am to an empty school!! I bet Belson wasn't even in his office yet!! My daughter is a sophmore and was on her bus and home by 3:30 last yr so ur estimated 20 minute window after schoolis not so..... These children in the winter will be getting on the bus in the dark in the am and getting off in the dark in the pm.. I can gaurantee belson will not be in his office for this many hours! Now lets discuss the fact that this bus needs to make it back in time to pick up elementary students....whats going to happen when the bus hits traffic,bad weather,breaks down and we have 50 1st through 5th grade students standing on street corners alll over medford in the snow waiting for there bus! Also Belson is very aware that he is paying for malden annd everett students to get to minuteman everyday...when mentioned at school committee meetingg he responded with "malden and everett do us plebty of favors!" Ha I would love to know what these favors are! They should be sharing in this cost! Minutemans superintendant suggested that mm and medford voc team up but belsons response was medford voc wouldn't benefit from this!! He clearly hasnt been in an acedemic classroom at the voc because they could benefit from teaming up with my sons pre school class! them are!!!! And I agree bring Billy Okeefe stand up to belson!
medford citizen September 03, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Although Belsons position is not elected the rest of school committe is and they should try and remember this before they follow suit!!! And Monique I agree...bring back Billy Okeefe,he was the only one to stand up to belson!!!!
L. Martin September 03, 2012 at 01:32 PM
My next door neighbor's daughter was picked up every morning right at her doorstep to go to Essex Aggie. This girl didn't even have to wait at a bus stop. The bus came to her house and beeped. I was unaware that the Medford public schools picked up the tab on that one. How is that fair? And frankly, the Voke is a disgraceful vocational school. Look at the drop out rate. It has been for years and it is getting worse. It is a disfunctional school and offers very little to its students. It is a melting pot for students who can't make it anywhere else. Not all students. But the majority. Just walk down the hallway of the Voke and you know right off the bat that there is no investment being made in that school. Nothing. It is horrible and disgraceful and Medford should be ashamed. Just take a walk once into the doors of Minuteman and you automatically get the feeling that this is a functioning vocational school where you know your child is going to get a good education and a wonderful high school learning experience. They care. Medford doesn't. I'm not overly concerned about the bus times because it is not that drastic and kids have to learn to toughen up sometimes. What I'm more concerned about is Belson's inability to see the truth and admit to it, and that is that he is at the helm of a high school and a vocational school that are sub par and that is why so many parents in this city choose to send their kids elsewhere.
medford citizen September 03, 2012 at 01:51 PM
L.Martin, belson won't open his eyes because this battle has become about his EGO!!!! And you are 100% right about the medford voc.

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