New Bus Fees for 2020-21

Board Approves Bus User Fees After Contract Hike

Faced with a 38 percent increase in the bus service costs, the Board of Education approved a new bus fee for every rider starting next school year at the February 27, 2020 board meeting. The 2020-21 individual fee will be the same as this year but applied to all riders with a tiered discount for multiple siblings. The board is also phasing in the full fee over two years to help families adjust.

Under the current structure, only 245 of 980 registered riders pay the $325 fee, which isschool buses charged to those who live less than 1.5 miles from school and do not have a hazardous crossing on their route to school. This year, the district will spend $817,000 on general education busing, while collecting just under $80,000 in rider fees.

Next year’s cost for the same service is projected to jump to $1.1 million, an annual increase of $306,000. It was determined that all riders need to help offset the increase to prevent cuts elsewhere in the budget.

The fee in 2020-21 will be $325 for the first rider in a family. New next year will be a discount for families with multiple children. The fee for a second rider of the family will be $253, and a third rider will be $181, with no fees for a fourth rider. In 2021-22, the fee will increase to $464 for the first rider, $361 for the second rider, and $258 for the third, with no fees for a fourth rider.

If no phase-in was provided by the Board of Education, the first-year fees would have been $450 for the first rider, $350 for the second, and $250 for the third. However, the Board decided to subsidize the first year in order to reduce the burden on families. The fee will help defray the contract increase while the district is still covering about $800,000.

The bus fee for typically developing peers in the Young Explorers program is increasing by 32% for this door-to-door service offered to our youngest riders. This fee will also be phased in over a two-year period. The first year will be $676 per rider. In 2021-22, the fee will increase to $747.

Currently, District 28 is the only Northfield Township district that does not charge all bus riders a transportation fee. Other township elementary districts’ bus fees range from $385 to $685 per rider, per year.