Scituate opens free transportation for out-of-district students

Scituate opens free transportation for out-of-district students

SCITUATE – Out-of-district students who previously looked into Scituate High School’s Career and Technology Education pathways and were discouraged by lack of transportation to the school can now be picked up at their town’s “hot spots,” according to SHS Principal Michael Hassell.

The Scituate school district’s bus company, Durham School Services, will provide free transportation to out-of-district students traveling from Johnston, Cranston, North Providence and Providence for a Scituate CTE program, Hassell said.

Hassell said he saw an outpouring of interest in the school’s four CTE pathways from students from Johnston. When those students were not in the Rhode Island Department of Education’s transportation zone, many decided not to attend.

“We hear from a lot of families who want to enroll in our CTE Pathways that transportation is an issue,” Hassell said.

RIDE regionalizes transportation zones to move out-of-district students to the CTE pathway schools. Education Region 2 transports students in Scituate, Coventry, East Greenwich, Foster, Glocester, Warwick and West Warwick within the region.

Hassell said he and Supt. Carol Blanchette picked up on the issue, and worked with the School Committee to come up with a solution. He said the district was “really ready to open our doors” last year to CTE students, and ended up with eight coming from outside the district.

He said the problem was with RIDE and the transportation zones.

“We worked closely with our School Committee to find a solution and help these students take advantage of everything Scituate High School has to offer,” Hassell said.

Hassell said CTE Coordinator Shannon Donovan used out-of-district applications from students outside of transportation zones and picked out “hot spot” areas where the school’s bus service will pick up students.

Scituate will pick up the tab for the additional services, Hassell said. He said approximately 15 out-of-district students will be attending SHS CTE programs this year.

Per-pupil costs paid to SHS from out-of-district school will compensate the district for the additional busing fees, Hassell said. He did not have the figure for the costs.

“We figured the risk versus the reward. It’s absolutely worth it,” Hassell said.

With the services, he hopes that the numbers will increase. Students outside of the new transportation zones may make a case to the superintendent to get assistance, Hassell said.

SHS enrollment to its four CTE programs, including computer science, biomedical, engineering, and entrepreneurship, is open until Oct. 31. He said students who did not choose SHS due to transportation issues should re-apply to the programs.

Application for out-of-district students to SHS CTE programs is available on the school’s website, .