Fairfield School sophomores will have an expanded transportation option beginning next school year after the school board approved allowing busing service to return for 10th graders. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

Fairfield Schools adds busing for sophomores next school year

The Fairfield Board of Education on Thursday approved the expanded busing, which will affect about 800 sophomores at the Butler County high school.

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“This is an opportunity for our district to provide an additional year of transportation service to our families with children in grades kindergarten through 10th grade,” said Fairfield Schools spokeswoman Gina Gentry-Fletcher.

“This should ease the burden many parents feel about how to get their sophomores - who are not eligible to drive, to school. We believe this will also ease the traffic congestion at the high school during morning pick up and afternoon drop off,” said Gentry-Fletcher.

Under Ohio school law, public school systems are only required to provide busing to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

MORE: State law, cost keep some Butler County high schools without busing

But if a district decides to exercise its local option of providing high school busing, which most of the state’s 613 districts do, the state mandates the school system must also provide busing to private school students residing in the district to any private school within a 30-mile radius of that family’s home.

In 2011, Fairfield — where 2,400 students attend high school — officials eliminated high school busing as a cost-saving move.

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Neighboring Lakota Schools has also been without school busing for the same reason since 2011.

“We decided on sophomores only because many are not eligible to drive themselves to school,” she said.

Fairfield officials also said the cost to provide busing will be approximately $175,000 per year starting with the 2017-2018 school year. This cost includes, fuel, maintenance of buses and hourly rates for drivers.

The bus service expansion will not require the hiring of more drivers or purchasing new buses, said Fairfield officials.

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