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Bus Count Week is a success

Despite overall lower enrollment in South Whidbey schools, the numbers for Bus Count Week were up 8 percent compared to last year.

“In 2008, we had 1,229 students riding the buses,” said school district business manager Dan Poolman. “This year, it was 1,242.”

The state provides money based on the number of riders on school buses during a specific period, approximately $540 per student. The more who ride, the more money generated. To be counted, a student must ride the bus from the same stop at least three times in the morning in the same week.

For a school district facing a $1.85 million budget shortfall from falling enrollment, every penny counts.

Poolman won’t know the exact dollar impact for another month or so.

“The state considers a variety of factors, of which the number of kids counted and how many miles were ridden each day are the main ones,” he explained.

Poolman noted that 82 percent of elementary students rode the bus, 72 percent of middle schoolers and 55 percent of high school students. The average per bus was 50.

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