BOSTON (WWLP) – With more land to cover and declining enrollment, western Massachusetts schools face a unique set of challenges when it comes to transportation, but they have some suggestions for lawmakers that could help.
During a panel discussion on Friday, school superintendents and town managers explained just how hard it is to shuttle kids to and from school on a tight budget.
“So the unique challenges are pretty profound when you have roads that are not paved in many of our rural school districts, you have a time frame in which these students are on the bus over an hour, hour and a half,” Richard Martin said.
School administrators from western Massachusetts said the long bus commutes and lack of available late busses could discourage students from seeking extra help or participating in sports.
Legislators proposed using resources from other schools in the district to make up for the bussing shortages, but they were told that they also face financial hardships regarding transportation.
Pittsfield State Senator Adam Hinds has been working on a bill to address some of the transportation funding issues that schools in western Massachusetts face.
His proposal would increase state aid by $100 per student in areas like Franklin County and the Berkshires.
Senator Hinds’ bill will be heard by the Financial Services committee later on this session.
22News will keep you update on any new information.