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IPS Superintendent: District offering parents, students various transportation options

A young person wearing a backpack prepares to board an IndyGo bus in downtown Indianapolis on July 31, 2023. Monday is the first day for Indianapolis Public Schools students and the district is offering new transportation options. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Monday marked the first day of school for students at Indianapolis Public Schools, where leaders say there’s a renewed focus on transportation, a wide range of student options, and the implementation of other related plans.

For many years, IPS has contracted First Student, a private company managing over 200 bus routes and employing over 250 drivers. While IPS yellow buses remain a key mode of transportation, the district now includes alternative methods of transportation that cater to the students’ needs.

IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson says IPS is on target to provide students with access to quality education and reliable transportation.

For high schoolers in grades 9 to 12, IndyGo will serve as their primary mode of transportation.

“For some high schoolers, depending on how close they live to a bus stop and their ability to get to school without having to make a transfer on the bus, IndyGo becomes that primary transportation mode for them,” Johnson said.

Those students will receive an IndyGo MyKey transit pass and unlimited rides across the entire IndyGo fixed-route network. Additionally, transportation for students in neighborhoods with limited options will be facilitated through privately owned SUVs and drivers for kids in remote areas.

“We’ll be using smaller vehicles to transport them to school daily. So, again, we’re trying to be as flexible and nimble as possible in our options so we can support kids to be at school every day to learn,” Johnson said.

The district’s Rebuilding Stronger initiative, which aims to enhance academic momentum and progress within the district, is also a top priority this academic year, according to Johnson.

“Last year, we spent a lot of time on ‘Rebuilding Stronger’; this year, we’re implementing some pieces of that but also planning for full implementation next year, and so just excited to see that work come together. We’ve had a lot of academic momentum, and we look at our test assessment results. And so again, we know many great things are happening in our classrooms. We are excited to continue building that momentum in terms of academic progress.”