Keller ISD Parents Consider Shuttle Services Instead Of School Buses

KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) – Third-party transportation services are reporting an increase in demand just one day after Keller ISD became the first school district in the state to charge parents a flat rate for their children to ride the bus to school.

“We are filling up very fast,” said Rushelle Wetzel with Smiley Transportation in Fort Worth. “We were at the dealership looking at adding to our fleet.”

A Keller ISD spokesman said the district spends between $260 and $360 per student on school bus transportation each year.

District officials said when residents rejected a 13-cent increase in the property tax rate, they were forced to push the transportation costs onto the parents.

As such, the school board approved a plan Monday that will charge one student $185 per semester – $370 a year – to ride the bus. A second student in the same family costs $135 per semester, or $270 a year, to use the school’s transportation. Students who qualify for free and reduced lunches have to pay $100 a semester.

Smiley Transportation offers door-to-door service to and from schools in Keller and Northwest ISDs.

“The vans hold 11 students,” Wetzel said. “And we pick up kids who are sick and need to be taken home.”

Their rates are higher – parents pay $35 to $65 a week – but the company acts more like a personal driver. Wetzel said there’s no walking to a bus stop and waiting, and the driver will take a child to-and-from any tutoring or extracurricular activities.

For some parents, if they’re going to have to pay, they’d rather pay more for a premium service.

“I just felt like all I did was come home and wait 30 minutes to get back in the car and drive again,” said Cindy Rowden, a parent of two. “It was averaging 150 miles a day.

Rowden turned to another third party service, Lewisville-based Students Only Shuttle, to handle transportation duties.

Students Only Shuttle charges $9 each ride, depending on the distance, and also provides door-to-door service.

“Basically, we wheel in when the parents aren’t able to provide the rides,” said employee Amy Summars. “I’m a grandmother and I do a lot of the driving myself.”

Both shuttle services said they perform background checks on all drivers. They also notify parents by text message when the students are school or at home.

“You expect a bus ride just like you expect lunch to be provided to your child,” said mother Wendy Edington, whose daughter is in the 7th grade at Keller ISD. “That’s what your money pays for.”

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.


One Comment

  1. blah says:

    Maybe if the school district new how to manage its “cash flow” it wouldn’t be in this situation. They’re already at the state maximum for tax revenue, but want the voters to increase it. It’s crazy….maybe the 4 million dollar stadium rennovation wasn’t such a good idea. Or maybe replacing your computer systems every 3 years isn’t such a good idea either (wow with those ideas I just brought the busses back into play). Everyone in Keller ISD should vote out their school board and get rid of their superintendent.

    1. bill Judge says:

      The citizens of Fort Worth spoke and gave their likes and dislikes at the election. The Trustees, and the Administrators at Keller ISD need to be replaced (personally I like the word fired. We citizens of Fort Worth pay Keller ISD; but we ain’t happy. Its time to save money, stop spending, I wonder if The Texas Attorney Generals Office has been asked to see how many KISD employees get kick backs.If Keller ISD have dislike of the citizens vote us our of your ISD, we pay taxes and you sure as heck will miss those taxes.Remember the Citizens of Fort Worth in the Keller ISD have the votes to stop any and all tax increases.

  2. Liberal Morons says:

    Keller needs to fire the superintendent, he is an extreme liberal and somehow manages to get a 20-25% raise each year while they are laying off teachers. Keller is building these so called green schools which cost 2-5 million more than a regular school that is just as green. I am glad I voted no on raising taxes and I am glad that my kids attend private schools than having to deal with Kellers liberal agenda. They are now teaching kids starting in elementary school that global warming is real, this a joke Keller is poisoning our kids with these liberal lies!

    1. AC says:

      I believe you are the Poison.

    2. JS says:

      Here is your typical answer from one of the many sheeple that follow the so called conservative agenda. What all the complainers fail to mention is that as the property values of our homes have decreased so has the amount of school taxes. I payed less school taxes last year than any other year in the ten years I have been in Keller. Everyone complains about public education and how much better private education is and yet there is one thing that seperates public from private; the number of children in the classroom. These same morons that can’t control their two children at home expect teachers to control 35 or 40 children and teach them algebra or chemistry. Hey neocon, keep watching the lies on FOX news and continue to bring down the country. Remember, stupid people are easy to control. Hitler made sure to kill the educated first and burn as many books as possible. Welcome the neocon world of the super rich and the ultra poor and no middle class.

  3. Jessica says:

    I live in Keller mainly because of all the hype about what a great school district it is. Boy was I misled. I am currently looking to get out of Keller and move to Northwest ISD. I guess it really makes no difference, because every school district in the state will soon face these problems thanks to Gov Perry and his cutting of benefits to schools. Also, WHERE IS THE LOTTO MONEY THE STATE PROMISED TO THE SCHOOLS???

    1. sigmund says:

      I am no cheerleader (haha) for Perry, but the real problem is the teachers’ unions. Whoever came up with this idea that teachers can’t handle more than 22 students in a class? and teacher’s aides? must be nice… How about the cushy summers off and multitudinous vacations and breaks throughout the year? These school teachers and administrators need to buckle down and work a bit harder with the money we pay them.

      1. Yaputcha says:

        The problem is the teachers unions? Do you even know what you are talking about? As for the aides, they are cheap labor to assist in a multitude of ways, freeing the teacher to perform their jobs better. And have you ever tried to teach more than 22 students at a time? You get what you put into it! More students equals less time spent with each student. Teachers spend a lot of their ‘cushy’ summers off teaching summer school, re-certifying, and keeping up with changes made to the curriculum. Get a clue or get into the classroom to make a difference!

      2. John says:

        I’d enjoy watching you try to handle – – by yourself – – 22 first-graders at a birthday party, for just 2 hours. Then multiply that by four… everyday… for a year. If you thinks it’s that esay, become a teacher. Better yet, home school your children – – and invite 20 of your neighbors to drop their kids off… every day… for a year. Still sound simple?
        I tried it for 3 years – – and in a magnet school – – average class size was about 12. I’m back in the regular working world – – much easier and much better pay.

    2. Caringmom says:

      Finally a sensible comment on here from Jessica. If you don’t like it, move out of Keller. Having a liberal superintendent isn’t the reason for this, duh! I took my kids to school for their whole time in school and it didn’t hurt to get off my butt and do it. I was glad to know my kids got to school everyday and picked up. You can thank Perry for the cuts to schools. I quit playing the lotto because Perry won’t use it for what it was intended for.

  4. sigmund says:

    We are in walking distance to my daughter’s school, so this doesn’t affect me, but I too would rather pay a private company than these idiots who can’t seem to manage public money efficiently.

  5. Mimi Dehtaziani says:

    What about those who don’t live in Keller, did not vote against the tax increase but are forced to send their kids to a Keller ISD school?

  6. Science Teacher says:

    Teachers in Texas are NOT unionized. We have professional associates, but all they do is provide legal representation. As for why we might need that – you say who says a teacher can’t handle more than 22. I have 28-30 kids in a class and I teach science. There are many activities that would benefit my students because I have to choose to keep my students safe. 28 middle school students in a science class is too many but my colleagues and I have to make it work. And we don’t have teacher aids. As for buckling down and working for the money we are paid – I am at school an average of 11 hours a day. On weekends I take work home. I spend parts of my summer going to training (often on my own dime) so that I can better serve my students. I really wish people who have no idea what goes on in a classroom would quit thinking they know how teachers should do their jobx

  7. Ed says:

    No matter how much of our tax dollars we turn over to them, school districts always need more. Even worse, they’ve continued to float huge bond issues that place additional future burdens on taxpayers. I love our children and teachers as much as anyone, but if I hear another administrator say that they’re doing it all for the kids, I think I’ll puke.

  8. David Bullock says:

    Keller I.S.D. is the poster child for “How not to run a school district” The Legislature uses examples like Keller I.S.D. to prove that districts statewide are wasting money. They are the rotten apple making all Texas schools look bad.

  9. Cindy Rowden says:

    I have to disagree with the first parent in this video interview. You are crazy to expect bus service or lunches for your child. This is not what your money pays for. Your money pays for education. While living in CA in 2000 we paid for bus service…. while living in GA in 2006 thru 2010 we paid to play… play anything. Marching band was 1,000 dollars a kid, football was similar, basketball had a fee as well. Anything outside of the school day had a cost. The time has come that we have to pay for what we use so that we can maintain the proper education at our public schools. Those in Texas are living a dream. More states that don’t charge for busing. Get with the times.

  10. Cindy says:

    Most states charge for busing. Just an FYI. Texas is not the norm. Don’t act so victimized. This is the wave of the future. Most would rather pay for busing and have a better education. Some sates have been charging for transportation for better than 10 years. Hooray for Kellar to start the wave. Better to have educated kids than bused kids!

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