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Some CPS high school principals say student arrival times are worse since XTRA routes ended

Sarah Ramsey

Some high school principals throughout Cincinnati Public Schools are saying students aren't arriving on time this semester compared to previous school years.

Eleven of the 15 principals participated in a survey regarding SORTA/Metro bus services between October 14-25. The info was shared during Wednesday's Committee of the Whole meeting. The results are:

  • 55% indicated students arrived at school on time most of the time
  • 82% indicated student arrival times are worse than previous years
  • 73% indicated more parent complaints than previous years
  • 73% indicated wait time for Metro buses to transport students home is worse than in previous years

CPS has also asked SORTA to deactivate 7,760 unused bus passes - 6,500 for CPS students and 1,260 for non-public school students. The district is also requesting roughly $2.4 million in credit for the unused passes.
Passes were mainly unused by students in virtual high school and Riverview East Academy at 79% and 63.2%, respectively.

Look below for a summary of unused passes by school including Walnut Hills and SCPA.

Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Nov. 3, 2021 meeting)

The district's general counsel has also submitted a public records request to SORTA. Board member Ben Lindy said a lot of the data CPS has been asking for used to be given to them regarding student arrivals. Now, the district is "suddenly" not receiving it.

Concerning the possibility of yellow bus service for seventh and eighth graders, this will not be feasible in the current fiscal year. However, pilot programs at Shroder and Clark Montessori are being recommended. The estimated cost to transport students at those schools would be $414,000 for the second semester. Money from the requested $2.4 million credit from Metro would be used to offset the costs.

CPS' transportation department will submit a request for proposal on Friday to look into hiring a new director.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority ended student Metro bus routes right as school was about to begin. SORTA says due to the driver shortage the decision was necessary to avoid delaying or reducing services under the Reinventing Metro plan. CPS says the changes affect 6,000 students. However, SORTA says roughly 4,000 were already commuting to school using regular Metro routes.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.