Long Day at School, Long Way Home: Why Staples Does Not Run Late Buses

The school district provides students a ride to and from school, but this can present a problem for those who stay at school for activities which end long after their bus leaves the building. | Photo by Cara Sesmer '11

On any given day after school at Staples, there are swarms of students bustling through the halls participating in extra-curricular activities. Because of students’ active participation in after school activities, it is surprising that the school does not offer these hard working teens a way of getting home.

Staples students are given transportation to and from school, but the large populace that remains after school must find their own rides. They have to make a phone call, grab a taxi, or walk. These students must find an alternative transportation home, rather than taking their respective bus which leaves by 2:25 p.m.

“If we had a bus to take us home after ‘Players’, that would be great. I live far enough away that it’s a hassle to my parents,” said Daniel Greenberg ’14.

Since Greenberg lives about ten minutes from school, it is an inconvenience for his ride to pick him up every day.

Another form of transportation for Staples students are Westport Taxis. However, according to Ben Bjornson ’14, “The taxis are sketchy here. I don’t know if I’d trust them to get me home.”

Excluding the students with licenses, the only other way to get home is by bus. However, there is only one round of buses that leave Staples almost immediately after the school day is over.

According to principal John Dodig, Staples has asked for buses to transport kids from after school activities. Despite the request, increased budget cuts make it difficult to provide students with extra rides. Dodig said that the budget has been cut three years running, and rumor has it that this upcoming year’s budget will be even more harsh than in the past. Some individuals are actually asking for a negative budget, meaning that that the schools are being asked to spend less money than the money that they have the access to spend.

“If that actually happens, we will lose many programs we now have,” Dodig said.

At an estimated $250,000 a year according to Westport superintendent Dr. Elliot Landon, it looks as if late buses are out of the question. According to Landon, the funds that the Board of Education has been given for the past couple of years is insufficient to run all activities at its current level.

“Within this framework, after school busing is a luxury we cannot afford,” Landon said.

According to Fairfield transportation supervisor, John Ficke, late buses run three times a week without cutting too much into the budget. Ficke said that each late run is $43.50, making it $9,000 dollars year-round for the high school to run two late buses a day and three days a week.

Ficke sees great benefits to having the late buses, saying it is constructive for the students to get extra help or use the library without feeling pressured to get a ride home.

“Some students even stay at school because no one is at home and there are other students and teachers here that can help them with their work,” Ficke said.

In Westport, however, the recent budget cuts have restricted the schools from adding several things, including these late buses.

“It’s not fair to my parents,” Greenberg said. “But for now, I guess they’ll just have to be my chaperones.”