For weeks, Lake parents pressured board members to reverse transportation cuts that left 4,300 students who live within 2 miles of school without bus transportation this school year. School Board members cut the rides as part of an effort to fill a $16.3 million budget shortfall.
But board members faced an angry backlash from parents and residents who claimed school leaders put finances before student safety. Board members slowly restored more than 900 rides for students who would face dangerous walking paths to school without rides.
A new program approved Monday and expected to start next month will give parents living within 2 miles of school the option to pay $2 a day — roughly $330 yearly per student — for bus rides. Students only would be able to get rides if they are approved by their principal, however, and if seats are available on the bus. The payments must be made at the start of the semester, and no family cost would be more than $660, according to the policy. Children would have to find their own way to the existing bus stops, and school leaders say no new bus routes will be added.