Changes in bus schedules coming for some CMS high schoolers next school year

Some high school students in magnet programs will have shorter bus rides next year.
Some high school students in magnet programs will have shorter bus rides to school next year in Mecklenburg County.
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 7:21 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Big changes are coming to how some students will catch their school bus next year.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is switching to a model called ‘express stops,’ the goal is to reduce the time students are on the bus.

Currently, some magnet school students start their day before 5 a.m., just to get on a school bus, then they’re on the bus for nearly two hours on the way to school.

Now, there’s a plan in place to hopefully allow students to sleep in while shortening the time it takes them to get to class.

“The express stop model is essentially point-A to point-B travel, so we’ll have an express stop site identified for these schools, and folks will brings those students to those express stops, bus picks up those students and travels directly to the school they’re assigned to,” Adam Johnson, the executive director for CMS Transportation said.

“You don’t want your kids sitting on a bus for four hours, so cutting that down is great,” Summer Nunn, a CMS Board of Education member for District 6, added.

The high school magnet programs impacted by the express stops include:

  • Harding IB & Berry Technical Academy
  • East Mecklenburg High School
  • Hawthorne & Military Global Leadership
  • North Mecklenburg High School
  • Northwest School of Arts
  • Secondary Montessori @ JT Williams
  • South Mecklenburg High School
  • UNCC
  • EE Waddell
  • PACE – district wide program
  • CPCC – Central Campus

“This doesn’t involve every student at these schools that are identified, it’s just for those schools that are identified in the magnet program that live outside of those schools’ attendance boundary,” Johnson said. “If your student does live in that schools attendance boundary, your transportation won’t change next year, it will be the same as it is currently.”

A total of 5,151 students in the magnet program will be impacted the new express stops next school year. Under the current model, there are over 5,000 bus stops for high school magnet programs, but the new express stops model would reduce that to 185 stops.

“With that kind of an impact you can certainly imagine the number of miles that it will reduce, about 1.4 miles, fewer miles that our buses would normally do,” Johnson said.

CMS Board of Education members understand this could still be challenging for some parents.

“You’re going to see some that will not benefit, but they want to benefit from it but they won’t have the means because of getting them to that stop, that express stop, to pick up, to take them there and to pick them up,” Lenora Sanders-Shipp, a CMS Board of Education at-large member, said.

CMS said it will work to identify parents with issues months before school starts.

The district said the express stop model will help save money, reduce the time students are on the bus, and help with the current driver shortage.

“We’re confident next year by going to the express model we’ll have more resources available with drivers to provide better service the families,” Johnson said.

Throughout the spring and summer, CMS will talk with schools and parents whose students will be impacted by this change so parents will not be caught off guard once school starts in August.

Related: CMS mother says her son was assaulted by another student and his mother on a school bus