Parents ‘Fume’ at District’s Decision to Cut School Bus Routes

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Parents of students who attend Pottsville Area School District in Pennsylvania voiced their frustrations during a school board meeting regarding the districts decision last month to limit school bus transportation to the Pennsylvania state minimum, reports the Republican Herald.

The district said it previously went above and beyond state requirements by transporting non-eligible riders, or those who live more than 1.5 miles from their school campus. But the district said a lack of necessary state funding for transportation service forced the decision to only transport students who live within 1.5 miles of school, and in the process reduce the size of its fleet by six school buses. Exemptions exist for students that would need to walk to and from school along hazardous routes, as defined by the state.

But all other students must walk or otherwise find another mode of travel, and parents aren’t happy about it.

“I leave for work at 6:30 in the morning. My husband leaves at 5:30 in the morning. And it’s going to be really hard for me to get my child to school,” said Karen Serrano, the parent of a sixth grader who will have to walk 1.6 miles to school this year.

“And we just found out about this. This doesn’t give me enough time to help my kids out,” she added.

Kerry L. Ansbach, the district’s director of facilities, grounds and transportation, said in a press release last month that the decision was a hard one to make but necessary due to the reduction in state funding over the past several years.

Karen E. Rismiller, the board’s vice president, said during Wednesday’s meeting that she is not aware that district ever adopted “what is considered to be the appropriate bus route for every single student in the Pottsville Area School District.”

“So what we have done is, through committee work, made a decision to follow the recommendations and policies that are implemented by the state, and to do so in a financially responsible manner,” she added.

The first day school is Monday, Aug. 29.