Documents: James Island Charter students spent $680K on bus transportation

Documents: James Island Charter students spent $680K on bus transportation
A centralized bus lot on James Island could save James Island Charter High School nearly $200,000 per year on transportation costs, its principal estimates. (Source: Live 5/File)

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - James Island Charter High School’s principal estimates having a new bus lot at the school could save more than $200,000 per year in transportation costs for students.

This week, the Charleston County School District will continue holding community meetings about a new bus lot planned at James Island Charter High School. The price tag for constructing the lot stands at about $5 million.

As it stands right now, there is currently no centralized bus lot on James Island. With the lack of a bus lot, the principal of James Island Charter High School, Timothy Thorn, says not only have they had service and quality issues but it’s also more expensive. That’s where the charge comes in.

The school’s most recent 990 form shows a charge of more than $680,000 for “travel.” Thorn says a majority of that is for bus transportation costs for students.

Thorn says they’re paying about a third more per bus, per day to run because of a lack of a state bus lot.

He says the school's overall budget for busing is $600,000 a year. But, by having a bus lot, Thorn says they would be able to save more than $200,000.

“What we could do with that kind of money every year for our kids, being funneled toward teaching and learning versus toward an operational cost is incredible,” Thorn says. “But the bigger factor is kids being late to school, having to wait at bus stops for 30-50 minutes.”

Thorn says, right now, they have about 13 buses on the island to service students. The rest are on Johns Island and in North Charleston. That's where the operational costs and delays come into play.

Meetings to discuss the bus lot at the school are expected to continue this week.

The meetings will take place in the main conference room at James Island Charter High School Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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