Columbia Public Schools renews bus contract

Oct 16, 2013

Credit Twix / Flickr

The Columbia School Board is renewing its yearly contract with First Student. The transportation system for elementary and high school students is constantly changing to make the out-of-school environment as pleasant as possible.

First Student Manager Craig Caldwell said the recent change from a two tier system to a three tier system is expected to prevent tension on the buses.

“The high schools and the middle schools being split up, that’s made a big difference for us," he said. "Last year we were combining those schools and they would drive together and I think that created some issues there with the age difference and the different schools,” Caldwell said.

The District predicts a nearly 50 percent decrease in discipline incidents in 2014.

The positive changes are not only for the students, but for the drivers as well. Columbia Public Schools Spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said opportunities for the bus drivers will open many opportunities.

“Becoming a bus driver is more attractive now because you can accrue more hours in the job that you could previously. Previously, you could not drive more than one route,” said Baumstark.

Along with the expected amount of school buses to increase in 2014, five buses will test out a new wi-fi system. This will provide a productive environment for students that are involved in extracurricular activities.