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Canton & Potsdam teaming up for transportation study

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POTSDAM - One of the most important aspects of merging two schools is how transportation issues between the two original districts will be resolved.

To help answer those questions, the Potsdam and Canton central school districts will be teaming up for a transportation study that will be paid for using money left over from the original grants intended to pay for the merger study.

“One of the questions that comes up often is, ‘How long is my child going to be on the bus?’” Potsdam Central School Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said. “Another is, ‘How much is transportation going to cost?””

To help get the answers to those questions and others, Mr. Brady said the district is teaming up with Canton for a joint transportation study that will be completed by Transportation Advisory Services, Woolworth.

“Our consultants are not transportation experts. They can only go so far,” Mr. Brady said.

While a final cost for the study has not yet been determined, Mr. Brady said it is expected to come in at less than $10,000.

He explained there is a base fee of $1,500 plus an additional $880 per day and mileage.

“They haven’t got a final figure, but they said it should be less than $10,000 and that’s before aid,” Mr. Brady said, explaining that Canton will serve as the lead agency for the study due to the district’s higher transportation aid ratio.

“They get 90 percent and we get 80 percent,” he said, meaning that even if the study costs $10,000 with 90 percent aid the cost would be reduced down to $1,000 split between the two districts.

Mr. Brady said Canton and Potsdam school officials will provide the firm with information that they’ll use to create bus routes that keep children on the bus for the least amount of time possible.

Mr. Brady said that Canton doesn’t have a district policy limiting the amount of time children can be on a bus, but Potsdam has one that limits the length of each trip to 90 minutes, which he acknowledged was longer than what most people would be willing to accept.

“Our goal would be one hour or less,” he said, explaining both districts would provide the firm with their route maps detailing where students are located, the number of buses they have and the number of bus drivers they have.

Mr. Brady said the study will result in a report that presents a model of what transportation for the merged district would look like with two routes.

“We really need this additional information,” Mr. Brady said. “After the report is done we’ll present it to the committee.”

Board of education member Wade A. Davis said he was concerned about equal representation in the study, given that Canton had been designated as the “lead agency,” but Mr. Brady addressed those concerns.

“This will be an equal partnership with them,” he said. “There really is one reason for Canton to be the lead agency on this and that is aidability.”

Following his presentation on the study, Mr. Brady asked board members what they though, receiving a unanimous response that the study was something that had to be done.

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