POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Students at Powell Butte Community Charter School (PBCCS) now have the ability to catch a bus to school. Principal Jenn Berry O'Shea says the arrangement with Crook County Schools was necessitated by increased traffic on Highway 126, in front of PBCCS, and concerns over student safety - especially in the morning. "We have a drop-off area that we encourage parents to use; depending on, I guess, which way parents are traveling or driving, it was easier for them to drop them off across the street," Berry O'Shea tells KBND News, "Which meant that kids were crossing the highway, sometimes unattended, which is really scary if you've seen the traffic along the highway, here."
When PBCCS converted to a charter school in 2010, it no longer had access to school busses. Although partial service was reinstated a year later, it didn't serve all students who requested transportation, and it was only available in the afternoons. Now, the school district's transportation department provides multiple busses, "So, we have two morning routes: one services students that live in Powell Butte, and one that services students that live in Prineville. And then we have three afternoon routes that are getting kids home," says Berry O'Shea.
She admits the new partnership with the school district is an experiment, but kinks are getting worked out. "We're hoping that it is a service that our parents and students are taking advantage of, and it is helping them meet their needs and also help our traffic situation in the Powell Butte area."
Powell Butte Community Charter School has 200 kindergarten through eighth grade students, and Berry O'Shea says 40% of them live in the Prineville area.