CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As schoolchildren across West Virginia return to the classroom this week, many will arrive at their destination aboard the traditional yellow school bus. Statewide, school buses travel more than 41 million miles each year, transporting about 230,000 students each day to school safely and reliably.
“School bus transportation is the best way to get children to school each day,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “Our efforts to improve student achievement do little if children are not in school. Providing safe, reliable transportation to school, especially in a rural state like West Virginia, is a key educational component.”
Across the country, 91 percent of parents agree that the yellow school bus is an important factor in making student achievement possible, according to a recent survey by the American School Bus Council. In addition, 76 percent of parents say if yellow school bus service ceased, the performance of millions of children would likely decline.
“Through this survey we learned that parents view the yellow school bus as an enabler of educational achievement, a powerful reason to make this service available to as many students as possible,” said Bob Riley, executive director of National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and member of the American School Bus Council. “School buses, which service half the nation’s 52 million students, have been shown by U.S. government studies to be the safest way for kids to get to and from school and are a more eco-friendly option than cars.”
The nation’s school buses eliminate the need for an estimated 17.3 million cars each morning and 2.3 billion gallons of gas annually.
“The yellow school bus is important to the nation’s students for many reasons, but providing kids with access to education on a daily and guaranteed basis proves to be the most valuable reason in the eyes of parents,” said Roger Howsmon, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of Blue Bird Corp. and member of the American School Bus Council. “The more school buses on the road, the fewer cars, the less pollution and traffic congestion around schools, and the safer it is for our nation’s schoolchildren.”
With students returning to school, motorists also are reminded to pay close attention to school buses when they see them driving on the street and to teach children how to be safe when boarding and exiting the bus. Although rare, studies show that when accidents do happen they most often occur as children are getting on and off the bus.
The survey and estimates on the economic and environmental impact of school buses is available at www.americanschoolbuscouncil.org. Contact the Office of School of Transportation at (304) 558-2711, or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699 for more information.
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