The state School Building Authority changed a decade-old policy Monday that gave more weight to economies of scale than to how long children ride on the bus.
Since it began in 1989, the authority gave more weight to projects that met certain size requirements than to projects that kept bus times down.
Now, transportation times will receive equal consideration, said Clacy Williams, executive director of the authority.
�When we began, we decided to weigh some criteria more than others. We had a lot of health and safety issues, poor curriculum being provided in substandard buildings,� he said.
�Now, most of the critically impaired buildings are gone,� he said, and the authority can focus on the �valid issue� of increases in transportation time.
Williams and several authority members said a recent report in the Sunday Gazette-Mail about increasingly long bus rides caused them to consider the change in policy.
That investigation found that more than half of all bus runs in rural counties are longer than state guidelines allow � 30 minutes each way for students in elementary school, 45 minutes for middle school students, and 60 minutes for high school.
It also found that state and county administrators ignored a 1998 state law requiring them to study bus times.