Posted Online: May 10, 2013, 6:30 pm

Mercer backs proposed busing change

Comment on this story

By Cathy Decker, edecker@mchsi.com

ALEDO -- The Mercer County School Board this week declared its support for a proposal to raise the distance a student lives from the school before mandatory busing is provided.

A district must provide transportation if the student lives one and a half miles from the attendance center. The board said it supports raising the distance based on the geographical size of the district.

The proposal, pending before the Illinois Association of School Boards, would raise the distance to three miles for districts with more than 300 square miles; two-and-a-half miles for districts with areas from 200 - 299 square miles and to two miles for school districts with less than 200 square miles.

Mercer County is the fifth largest district in Illinois comprising 376.6 square miles. Of the district's 1,350 students, 692 regularly ride buses to and from school.

Board member Barbara Chiles said the proposed amendment will be discussed when the school board association assembles in November.

Board president Marta Tucker said that the measure might not even make it to the floor of the assembly, but it was worth a try.

District buses travel 2,300 miles per day during the regular school year on 17 regular routes, three special education routes and 12 shuttles. The annual amount budgeted for transportation in Mercer County is $976,000, according to the superintendent.