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Keller ISD Approves Pay-To-Ride School Bus Program

KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) – The Keller ISD school board approved a plan Monday night to make parents pay for students who wish to ride the bus.

Under the plan, parents or guardians will pay $185 a semester for one child to ride the bus and $135 for a second child. Students who get free and reduced lunches will have to pay $100.

“There will be buses,” superintendent James Veitenheimer told parents after initial worries that there wouldn’t be bus service during the school year. “They just won’t be free.”

After initially saying there would be no monthly payment plan, Keller ISD officials said Tuesday that parents could, after all, pay on a month-to-month basis.

For one child to ride the bus for a month, parents would pay $48 and $36 for another child in the same family. Students who qualify for free and reduced lunches can pay $27 a month to ride. For roughly four months, the rate is just $7 more than the flat rate.

According to a release, Keller ISD teamed with technology provider Radiant Systems to create the monthly rate plan. Radiant also developed a “payment portal” that allows parents to pay the fees online.

“We’re excited that we’re going to have a transportation option for students at all, and feel very fortunate that our partners at Durham and Radiant were able to help provide another payment option for our families,” Veitenheimer said in a statement.

Students will now carry identification cards that will track if they have paid the fees, which must be paid up-front.

“Had we known there was not going to be an option to get our kids to school we’d have bought a house right next to the school,” said Jennifer Rosenthal, one of the 100 parents who came to the board meeting Monday.

Buses have always been a necessary part of getting to school for the Rosenthal family. Her children travel two miles to Keller Middle School and just over three miles to Bear Creek Intermediate.

But that’s no longer a guaranteed service: Each year Keller spends between $260 and $360 per student on school bus transportation. District officials say when Keller voters rejected a 13-cent increase in the property tax rate they were left to find other ways of generating money.

During the 2010-2011 school year the district provided about 120 school bus routes. During the next school year, there will be just 72 stops. Routes will be released Thursday.

But, there will still be 40 routes for special needs children, which a state mandate.

Though the pay-to-ride plan went forward, the district said it would help low-income families find ways to pay for the service through non-profits like the Keller ISD Education Foundation.

The pay-to-ride plan would affect some 7,000 Keller students who live more than two miles from school. District officials anticipate the new school bus system will save the district about $2 million. With the savings – and more state dollars than expected – the district hopes to rehire teachers it planned on firing.

At least two other North Texas school districts, Burleson and Northwest ISD, are also looking at pay-to-ride systems.

Keller ISD schools reconvene August 22.

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    […] North Texas Students May Have To Pay To Ride School Bus North Texas student’s head back to school next month and those in the Keller Independent School District may find themselves paying to ride the school bus. Go to News Source […]

  • te

    Like the NATIONAL ENQUIRER journalism!!! “North Texas Students”. Why don’t they just say Keller students. And yes, I also think children definitely need more exercise!! Parents also need to set an example and get out and walk!

    • ronl11

      When I was a kid I had to walk 5 miles, or hitch hike, or ride a bike. If I had to I ran and could get there in like 45 minutes. You did stay fit, and it helped conditioning for wrestling season.,

      I would think riding a bike is pretty simple though. You would get th4re faster than the bus would.

      • cem

        I walked too or my mom or dad paid for the gas to take me. They had the mistaken idea that it was their responsibility. They worked, didn’t sleep until 12:00 noon and felt it was a privilege for me to have an education and didn’t expect the government to bus me.

    • Waylon

      Maybe instead of charging for a bus ride they could charge for extracurricular activities such as football and band. Also charge more for high school drivers to park at the school.

    • someonewhocares

      In today’s world I would not allow children to walk to school even a block with lack of law enforcement and the over abundant amount of sexual preditors out there…just go look on your state website and see how many REGISTERED offenders are in KISD and then think about the ones that are not registered…enough said…have a great school year!

  • SV

    Not to be a naysayer, but most routes are if the child is over 2miles from the school. While that may not sound like much when you’re a first grader, that could be a bit overwhelming

    • Jimmy

      Maybe counties should be required to BALANCE their budgets just like their stat……oops, wait a minute. Just like the US Gover………..uhhhhhhh. Nevermind.

    • Sylena

      Even the kids who live NEXT door to my school get a bus. I totally agree with making them pay. I will pay for my daughter (she will only use the bus in the afternoon), and I’m glad this is happening. The more people that understand the government CAN’T and shouldn’t control every facet of your life, the better. As for pedifiles, the more kids/parents out there, the less likely they’ll be able to grab a kid inconspicuously.

    • TM

      Agreed! It is not a safe walk because there are not sidewalks and it is across a large dangerous road. I will be driving my elementary kids. Yes highschool students can walk! Small kids cant. The schools in Keller are garbage now. Time to move!

  • Curtis Mahagony

    yes… have them walk to school with all of these crazy drivers in DFW…..

    6 years ago in my senior year of highschool, I walked home once or twice. It was about 6 miles one way.

    i can understand if people live right next to the school, they should walk, but kids shouldnt be walking too far by themselves in this day and age.

    Also, keller should be fine, I read an article on a teachers website that stated that the state restored the budget to 97% of what it was before the cuts. SPORTS should be cut, they are fun and all, but they do not educate

    • Tom

      Yep, the “neighborhood” school died YEARS ago… now it’s ride a bus, parent’s drop you off, ride a bike (if you are brave) or walk-a-long-way.

      • Frank

        Yep, study after study has shown that “neighborhood” schools do a better job educating the kids. But that doesn’t build empires. So we create large central schools and then, oh my gosh, we need a transportation department to get the little darlings to school. Cut the busses.

    • Greg

      Maybe they should look to Wisconsin for results on how to get out of the red and into the black.

    • Michael

      That’s not true at all, I hate sports… but I have to say you can learn A LOT from sporting events. Strategy and communication towards a common goal. It can indeed be a very important part of social skills which can matter just as much as conventional education.

      Although, Sports should be cut before kids get denied a trip to school… this is a no brainer, it’s just that statement about sports not educating… it’s just not true.

  • John R.

    Keller ISD needs a dose of reality. They have known for years that these budget issues were comig. Next year is going to be worse (or so the projections show). I suspect that a court will rule in favor of the kids being asked to walk. I agree with the sports cuts. Let the kids and their families who want to participate in sports pay for it. Keller needs to lose a couple dozen or more of their adminstrators and other non-teachers (with large saleries).

    • Jace

      Nothing wrong with paying for the school bus. Prior to the welfare society kids paid for the bus, but they used city buses and got a discount. Pay for your transporation to school and your boooks (and you can get a partial refund at the ned of the year if you return the books in good conditin)>

      If you can afford cabloe, cell phones, pS 3, SUVs, mini vans, HDTV, $100 sneakers you can pay for the school bus and books. When you pay for it, you value it. Long past time to get priorities in order and do necessities first. Pay for what you sue.

      • Big Dog

        Nothing wrong except people already pay for the school buses, it is called taxes. Why is it that people get taxed to death for services and then get charged for the services when politicians can’t manage the money?

        This is similar to what happened with Social Security. They took the money, spent it, and now there is no money to pay for the benefits people paid for (unless we allow them to borrow it from another country).

        Stop allowing politicians to mismanage our money and force them to do things right.

    • AustinTXRed

      According to the last TEA snapshot Keller iSD had a fund balance of $38 MILLION. I wonder why that money sits in a bank account instead of being used for things like this.

      • Brian

        Don’t take this as scripture, someone please correct me if I’m only half correct… but from what I understand the district likely received a good portion of that money with requirements that it be used for specific purposes and can’t be reallocated as fiscal needs change.

        Why is it that so many people think a central body can know better what needs to be done when those involved at the local level see what’s needed every day?

      • AustinTXRed

        Actually Brian, you’re not even partly correct.

        Again, according to TEA, the Fund Balance means “The amount of unreserved, undesignated surplus fund balance”

        Maybe if local School Districts didn’t behave like this the State wouldn’t need to have so much oversight over them.

  • sadiedog

    when i grew up in the 60’s we had to pay 1.25 per week for a bus card . we need to start this again . sure would help the budget

  • frugmom

    If I had to pay for my kids to ride a bus I would expect front door pick up and drop off. What are my taxes paying for??

    • Jace

      The builkding, the administrators, books, teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers, heat and air conditioning, electricity, water, etc etc.

    • Jack

      Their education not transportation!!!!

      • Sheila

        Nonsense! Have you ever drawn up a budget for a business, or even a household? All of the expenses are listed, including transportation when appropriate. Unless the persons are spectacularly inefficient (read stupid), transportation has been included.

        I do not live in this school district, but I do live in a school district. My taxes already pay for transportation. If I was required to pay more because of misuse or malfeasance, those responsible would know how furious I was.

        Finally, Jack, these same people are responsible for the pitiable education the kids receive. It sounds like you’re defending them – are you a teacher or administrator?

    • RONL11

      I live in Alaska in the country, like mot of us and the bus runs to the end of the pavement. Its still 5 miles to the end of the pavement, so you get there however you can, mom, dad, walk, bike, and there is no such thing as snow days, or to cold days. It is still another 16 miles to school from the pavement. Many here home school and are far ahead of the kids that go to public education schools. We can still participate in sports, but here all sports have cost to the players/families. Some regular season games reguires a two day road trip From Nikiski to Valdez is almost 800 miles, to Barrow is a plane ride, to Fairbanks is 560. I just giggle at ya’ll making a big deal aBOUT 2 MILES OR A LITTLE MORE.

      • SyKo

        This isn’t about exercise or the distance, it’s about the safety. You don’t have serial killers, gang members, and heavy traffic going 85mph in Alaska either, now do you? Idiot.

      • Michael

        I can’t reply to SyKo so to keep it in the thread I will reply to RONL11.

        “You don’t have serial killers, gang members, and heavy traffic going 85mph in Alaska either, now do you? Idiot”.

        Robert Hanson. Est 18 victims. Check AMW they have a serial killer as recent as 2009 who hasn’t been caught yet. Also, ALASKA.

        “Gang Violence Turns Anchorage’s Streets Into A Shooting Gallery” June25th ’06.

        The real crux is, people who live out in the woods or what have you do not live in cities. Less people in a confined area = less crime. Also, Alaska is can’t have “snow” days and what have you cuz it’s snowy year round most parts, dark for 6 months in other parts… It’s the exception to the rule. You do have snow days in the city, since transportation isn’t adapted for the snow.

        Context is key. Every situation falls within a certain context. Ignore it and you just look stupid. (Both RONL11 AND SyKo.)

      • Ankles

        Ronl11 that’s funny. I live in AK to and work at a local charter airline and one of our main sources of revenue are the high school teams traveling for games. My very first trip as a flight attendant was taking Seward’s football team to Barrow. A 2 1/2 hour flight after a 2 hour drive into Anchorage. Your right Distances are all a matter of perception.

    • Evie

      Salaries are the largest budget line item in every school district’s budget taking about 75% of total school district costs. The next largest budget line item is Transportation, followed by Facilities and/or Curriculum Support. Due to Federal Government involvement into Public Education the bulk of Salary costs are not teachers but administrators who have to carry out the policies and procedures dictated by the Fed. Curriculum, scheduling, teaching and administering standardized tests has caused school budgets to increase 138% over the past 15 years.

      • AustinTXRed

        And yet, according to TEA in their last Snapshot of Keller ISD, the District had $38 Million worth of “unreserved, undesignated surplus fund balance”

  • John

    I don’t get it. In NH, our high school kids have to pay $100 for a bus pass or $100 for a parking pass to drive to school. Texas High School kids don’t pay anything? Lucky Texas kids.

    • Tom

      Not to ride a school bus, but HS parking fees are HIGH.

    • Mary Margaret

      You have student parking lots??????? We didn’t even have parking lots for the teachers. If it costs $260 to $360 for the bus, give that same amount to those that don’t use the bus. Seems fair enuff.

  • malcom

    we don’t charge illegals for anything why charge our citizens for this?

    • Tom

      Sweet!!! However, the illegal alien has more rights than a citizen, just ask Mexico.

  • Ollie

    The Santa Clara Unified School District in San Jose, CA has been charging for years. It’s crazy…

  • Fact

    Here in california I pay $200.00 a year for each child to ride the bus to school I cant afford it but I go out and make the money I dont bum of the Tax payers. I dont like dead beats.

    • Jace

      Kudos to you. Maybe when your kids get a little older and have a job they can pay part of it. It will benefit them in the long run. But you are doing things the American way.

    • el barto

      In san diego we have also had to pay 600 to 700 per year for each of our kids to ride the bus if we wanted. Needless to say carpools became real popular along with the major traffic at the elementary school. Now they don’t even offer the option if needed for working parents in our area, but do for the closer walking distance neighborhhoods. Even the low income hoods get free service. I saw one of our large buses buses go many miles across town to pick up ONE handicap kid to bring to school, apparently parents can’t bring them to school in their own custom van equipped for this. California is way ahead of you in the F the working citizens department.

      • CC

        My daughter is handicapped and I offered to drive her to and from school as it is only a mile from our house. The school said they would prefer that all of their special education students ride the bus. Just FYI.

      • Joe Mamma

        I really like how you are blaming the handi cap kid for your issues…I respect your choice….NO free rides for that kid through life

    • Ronald Gosch

      You are already bumming off the tax payers who don’t have kids and still have to pay.

  • Chris Smith

    So what happened to the tax money that was supposed to cover the bussing expenses? Probably found its way into a lobbyist’s pocket. Thanks to all the corrupt politicians these days funneling money thier own pockets, citizens are being charged for services they have already paid for with thier taxes. I surely will be glad that I’m not a politician when the revolution happens.

    • AustinTXRed

      Don’t look at the lobbyists, look at the administrators. For instance, Keller ISD’s superintendent makes $225K a year in base salary, not including benefits. The District spends 49% of all of it’s revenue on administrative costs, not instruction. The District isn’t poor, it’s just corrupt.

    • donk

      Its called Robin Hood! Taxpayers pay in to the state, and only get a portion back. This year, state returned even less…TEA is corruption..ILLEGAL yet its Texas Law. Thank Ann Richards.

  • Cogiito

    Such a deal! You mean it might become their responsibility to go to and return from school for their free education, and the taxpayer may not have to pick up the tab?

    Will wonders never cease!

    • Jim

      Just curious, why do I have to pay school taxes if I do not (and will not) have children. Is it that socialist thing?

      • Jim2

        Just curious, who paid the taxes for you to go to school?

      • kadja1

        Who will pay for your social security and medicare?

      • AustinTXRed

        @ Jim, at the very least presumably, his parents.

      • jack

        @Jim2 and @kayja1 . Have you even considered that Jim’s PARENTS paid for his education???? I have a son in private school , I pay for it. ME, I do. SO I pay twice. AND have you ever considered that maybe JIM is taking care of his own retirement and DOESNT WANT the piddley pathetic amount that the would be returned to him. JUST CONSIDER IT JIM2 and KAYJA1!!!!

  • Joel

    You all seem to be forgetting that we’re spending $700 billion on 3 wars that are not helping us at all, while our education system is going down the drain. Texas cut only $7.8 billion to education, and its DESTROYING the Middle Class.

    Last year, more money was spent on the Air Condition of the tents in Afganistan, than NASA’s entire budget.

  • Whites only pies

    This is what makes me mad.We are going to be paying more for govt and getting less. This is the stuff of revolutions.

    • washington

      don’t worry Americans are too fat, lazy, and addicted to their internet, tv, video games, etc. to be bothered with revolutions.

      • C Bauer

        You are totally correct. Apathy is the pus-filled boil that is America now.

  • FedUp!

    Residents pay school tax with transportation already allocated into their budgets. I’d like to know how much. If parents decide to provide their own transportation, that tax allotment needs to be reimbursed to them! Also, the time is long overdue for parents of special needs children to pay more taxes than those parents of kids who do not require special needs! That includes transportation. Resources utilized on special needs kids are enormous!!!!!!

  • Emma

    I thought it was state mandated to provide school buses for students living 2+ miles from school. Thus I think it’s a mistype that students living farther would have to pay — I believe it’s students living CLOSER than 2 miles would have to pay in order to ride the bus. I think Southlake has been doing that for a couple of years now.

  • LadyTexan

    will they take the LoneStar Card also ???

  • Kelly

    The plural of the word student is students not student’s. This is basic grammar taught at the elementary school level.

    • Ts Ep

      It is getting to be a MUCH bigger problem. Stick an apostrophe in ANY word that ends with “S.” Where are English teachers? Where are the ones that have a clue? And why do people these days think that TXTing is proper grammar? U no wut im sayinnn?

      • C Bauer

        Welcome to public education. This is why home-schooled students smoke those ISD flunkies all the time in standardized tests.

  • Mike

    Its about time. Its also time to start charging a modest tuition fee as well. I don’t have any kids in school, yet I pay the same property tax as a neighbor that has three kids in school. Its time to set school tax at a base rate, then charge then add a charge for each kid that’s in school. There are about 5 million students in Texas schools…even just a $100 fee per student would bring in nearly $500 million dollars. If these kids could walk around with the latest electronic gizmos and cellphones, the parents can fork out $100. Cut off free education to illegals also…that’s another big savings. Enough is enough already.

    • Julia Westart

      Yes, why do we provide free education to illegals – do they actually have a right to it? As a teacher, I can also attest that these illegals who receive “free” education show up to school with no supplies – and the classroom teachers have to buy their pencils, crayons, glue and whatnot from our own pockets. Very discouraging.

    • Alan

      I have never considered this angle before – you make a really great point, especially when you consider the money parents spend on the gizmos you mentioned. Of course they would come out in droves for the next school board meeting and complain about it, while they shovel $4,000 worth of MacDonalds into their kids throats every year.

    • jason

      Those kids grow up and pay for the social security and medicare benefits you will (hopefully) receive. We used to have 5 workers to every person drawing on the system, that ratio has been going down. It works like a ponzi scheme; we need more kids or to let in more legals to keep it going.

    • Sheila

      I assure you there’s nothing free about a public education. I pay dearly through taxes and fees. In addition, each year the school requests numerous items to share, such as sanitizer, paper towels, etc. To top it off, they ask for a “voluntary” donation of $30.00 per kid. They ask for more throughout the year, and don’t even get me started on the fundraisers.

      It literally costs a thousand dollars per kid, on top of the taxes, and you suggest a tuition fee, as well? The education my son receives in our county is abysmal. I have to re-teach him at the end of the day, correct the numerous mistakes his teacher makes. I’m done with the lousy, uneducated public school teachers and their academic malpractice. A tuition fee? Let’s see if you can find ten kids per class who can even spell “tuition”.

    • AustinTXRed

      You do realize that your taxes pay for public schools right? So you want parents to pay even more in addition to that because School Districts can’t provide an education with their plentiful resources?

      The idea that Public Education needs more money is ridiculous. If we had open transparency we’d be able to figure out very quickly how much waste their is in our system, starting with Superintendents.

  • TS Ep

    I’m wondering where the writer of this article went to school. Poor grammar and punctuation. Really, “student’s” in the first sentence? What’s the apostrophe for?
    Come on….English 101.

    • rjm2238

      Where do you see that? It is not in the article I’m looking at.
      Rich in New Mexico.

      • Ts Ep

        It’s been changed. Apparently the editors check stories AFTER they go out, not before.

  • Frank

    California has been doing this for years already…….welcome to the new reality.

  • James

    I wonder how much the Keller School District Administration is getting paid?
    We have the “Robin Hood” Plan in Texas where Rich School Districts get robbed of Their Taxes and it is given to Poorer Districts….Where is all that money going in Keller Hmmmm?

    • AustinTXRed

      The Superintendent makes $225K a year in base salary alone, and 49% of all money is spent on administration.

      • C Bauer

        Here’s a solution. Fire the superintendent, cut the admin fat, send a wake up call, and hire admins at 65% of what was being paid before. Hire people with PASSION, not greed and laziness.

  • Rod

    I live in Keller, and they have been charging to ride the bus for years if you live within 2 or 3 miles of the school. I believe we had to pay around $160 per semster last year. This is probably just coming out because of a nasty fight over tax increases. The city is trying to ram a big tax increase through “for the kids”. The teachers at Keller schools have been scaring our kids with budget cut talk since the middle of last year. It has been pretty pathetic.

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