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      New school bus routes for Marquette

      There are a few changes to the transportation schedules this year.

      Some parents like the changes, others don't.

      "Parents would appreciate it if we would have a larger bussing area rather than a smaller bussing area. But they want a smaller 'walking area,' if you will, and have us bus more kids. But logistically we can't always accommodate that," said John Kurkowski, Director of MAPS Auxillary Services.

      Along with teacher changes and building changes, comes bussing changes as well for Marquette Area Public Schools.

      Because of the addition of Graveret Elementary School, the busses transporting the elementary students have had to make some changes in scheduling.

      "I think, where we're at, they do a pretty good job. I think it would be easier if they came right to our house, but they're working as hard as they can to make everything convenient," said Elaine Hewitt, mother of four.

      The MAPS busses will go as far north as Saux Head Road on County Road 550, as far south as Foster Creek Road near the Crossroads, as far east as the Alger and Marquette County line, and as far west as the Marquette and Negaunee Township line.

      The busses cover a large area, and only operate with 16 busses for around 1500 students.

      So sometimes, kids have to walk a bit to and from their stop.

      "We drive them in, and then they ride the bus home in the afternoon. They do limited bussing so they drop them off at about a mile away from the house and so then we just meet them there and pick them up after school's over," said Hewitt.

      "I like my parents to come and pick me up," said Samantha Hewitt, Elaine Hewitt's daughter.

      Bell times will remain the same for all three elementary schools.

      But with the distances the busses must travel, some kids may get picked up as early as quarter to six in the morning.

      Some may not be dropped off until 5:30 in the evening.

      But these are changes Kurkowski says must take place, because of limited drivers.

      "As you're looking at your bus stop times probably the best thing you can do for us is get your child out well in advance of that initial bus stop time to the tune of at least five if not ten minutes prior to that bus stop time for at least the first day or so. It takes us a few days to settle into the, into any school year. And this year it's going to be a bit more so because of the new elementary runs," said Kurkowski.

      Now Kurkowski says although there are not significant changes, there are changes.

      He advises parents to frequently check the bus route schedule on the MAPS website, where all bus numbers, drivers, and times are listed next to each stop.