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Dear Eastern Christian School families,

Due to both health and budgetary concerns as a result of COVID-19, the Board of Directors has determined that Eastern Christian School will not operate our community stop transportation service for the 2020-2021 school year. We still plan to operate the intercampus shuttle service. We have not made any decisions about transportation in the years beyond 2020-2021. This decision will not impact bus service or aid in lieu reimbursement, if offered to our students by their public school districts.

We regret the need to make this decision and acknowledge the potential difficulty that this may create for some EC families. Here are some reasons behind this decision and some potential next steps for families that need transportation service: 

The numbers:

Over the past decade, EC’s transportation service has had sharply declining ridership. Over the past three years, less than 15% of our student body has used EC community stop bus routes. Despite this declining ridership, the cost of providing this service continues to increase due to increasing labor and equipment costs. The provision of transportation service was projected to generate an operating loss of nearly $300,000 for the 2020-21 school year.

Additionally, COVID-19 related school bus social distancing guidelines, and safety and cleaning protocols would more than double the annual expense to operate our transportation service. So this service, which was already a huge commitment for our annual school budget, now simply does not represent the best stewardship of our limited financial resources. 

The reality is that we simply cannot afford to continue operating this bus service at a loss of this magnitude.

Another option:

Our Transportation Department will facilitate the sharing of contact information among EC families who may have transportation needs. Some EC families currently carpool to school, and if this decision impacts your family, this may be an alternative solution that works for you. This opportunity is available to all EC families whether you had previously used our transportation service or not.

The bigger picture:

This hard decision is not an indication of “bigger problems.” While it is certainly true that, like all schools, COVID-19 has changed some of our short term expectations, we are thankful that we remain in a position to maintain our other current services where permitted by health authorities.

Thomas Dykhouse

By: Thomas Dykhouse

Tom Dykhouse is the Executive Director & Head of School at Eastern Christian School

Read More Articles by Thomas Dykhouse
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