FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – State lawmakers in Austin remain deadlocked on education funding, but school districts are running out of time, and must make decisions on spending – chopping budgets just to be safe. The latest casualty in some districts is school bus service.
The Burleson Independent School District has already elected to eliminate all busing and the Keller Independent School District may soon follow. Now, the Northwest Independent School District as opted to axe busing for any students who live within a two mile wakling distance of their campus.
Some parents are seriously concerned about this decision. While school is not in session now, the Clay family is trying to figure out how their kids will get to class in two months. “I would sleep a lot better at night knowing that my kids are going to make it home to school and home safely,” said father Trae Clay.
The Clay family has kids in first grade and third grade at Peterson Elementary School, but come August, they will no longer be able to ride a school bus each day. They live less than two miles from the school. “It takes about 30 minutes to walk it,” said mom Amanda Clay.
But the school district is facing a $9 million shortfall, and cutting bus service will save $1.5 million. That is the equivalent of 24 teachers, explained Lesley Weaver with the Northwest ISD. “Had we not been faced with state budget shortfall, and what’s that meant for school funding across the state, we wouldn’t be looking at this decision,” Weaver explained. “We wanted to make sure we were looking at reduction that directly didn’t effect the classroom.”
Of course, there are exceptions to the bus rule. Routes that are deemed too dangerous, such as those with no sidewalks or along busy roadways, will still be able to receive bus service. But the Clay family and the school district have different opinions about what is dangerous.
Trae and Amanda both work, and do not have time in their schedules to take the children to school every day. The kids will have to cross a busy Golden Triangle Boulevard in their trek to class.
Trae Clay asked, “What’s the price of a child being in the hospital because they got hit by a car?”