As the only public-school system in Aurora, Colorado, and in partnership with the community, Aurora Public Schools is committed to accelerating learning for all students to develop the knowledge, skills, and character necessary to shape successful futures.
Several years ago, Aurora Public Schools found itself in a unique position. District enrollment was declining, but bus ridership was on the rise. “Within what is considered to be the Aurora proper, the district did not traditionally bus because most of our students were living within the walking boundaries for their respective schools,” said Shawn E. Smith, Transportation Director, Aurora Public Schools. “In the early 2000s, the demographics began to change as young professionals without children began moving into the urban neighborhoods where most of our schools are located. At the same time, families with school-aged children were moving into Aurora’s more suburban communities, and farther away from our schools. This led to an increase in student transportation needs.”
ALC Schools’ Model for Alternative Transportation Needs
ALC Schools supplements districts’ transportation programs using a combination of SUVs, minivans, wheelchair accessible vans, and sedans to assist students. Populations include McKinney-Vento, ESSA, ESE/special needs, and out-of-district students, as well as hard-to-serve and multi-district trips. Small capacity vehicles allow districts to stop paying for unused capacity and have flexibility to expand and contract their fleet. ALC accomplishes all this while reducing the cost of transportation programs by 20-30%.
To accommodate shifting demographics, the district was able to relocate some of its programs closer to where students were living. However, it still had a significant number of students who required bus services.
“We initially brought in ALC Schools to help meet the growing demand for special needs transportation services,” continued Smith. “In many cases, it was not efficient to use a bus to transport one or two students.” Smith reports that ALC has been especially helpful in cases where the district needed to transport a student from one corner of the district to another. “ALC Schools saved the day for us as we simply could not have one bus tied up with one student when so many other students needed bussing services.”
Over time, Aurora Public Schools, with help from ALC Schools, has expanded and contracted its services based on demand. “At the peak of the program we were using ALC Schools to transport around 300 students, and today we have about 50 students in the program,” said Smith. “We really appreciate the fact that ALC Schools was able to help us scale the program during times of significant need.
For Aurora Public Schools, ALC improves the quality and efficiency of its student transportation services while staying within budget. “I never lose sleep over ALC Schools,” said Smith. “They are very responsive and provide excelled customer service. Their efficiency in adapting to our evolving needs is unmatched and we are very appreciative to all they’ve done to help us achieve success and be fiscally responsible when it comes to our student transportation program.”