Families who live within two and a half miles of their assigned schools could pay about $230 a year for their children to ride the bus.
Families who live close to schools would pay a fee for their children to ride buses if an idea before the Lawrence school board takes root.
The board tinkered with the idea of bus "user fees" Monday and will ask a private bus company to write a proposal for consideration at an unspecified date later this spring.
Board members hesitated to call the idea a proposal yet.
"We have to be very, very careful," board member Harriet Shaffer said. "We are only talking about this now. We need information."
Here's the idea: All residents within 2.5 miles of their assigned school would pay about $188 a year for busing. The change would affect about 2,000 students. About 400 of those students are on free or reduced lunches. Assuming the fee for busing would be waived for those students, the cost for each student whose family could afford to pay would be closer to $230 a year.
The annual savings in the district transportation budget would be $380,000, assuming no district subsidy. However, no nearby school district has a user fee system without some district cost.
Administrators will ask Mayflower Contracting Services, the contracted school bus company, to submit a proposal.
Board member George Crawford cautioned that charging families for bus service would be quite a change in district policy, but board member Renee Karr said patrons should prepare themselves for a transportation policy change.
The district provides busing without fees to elementary children outside of a mile and a half, junior high children outside of two miles and senior high children outside of two and a half miles.
The state reimburses the district only for students who live beyond two and a half miles, regardless of age. The remainder -- $380,000 -- is paid in local property taxes.
The school board unanimously discontinued routes to three neighborhoods effective next year:
- An area bounded by Learnard Avenue, Pennsylvania Street, Delaware Street, Liberty Street and 22nd Street Terrace for Kennedy School.
- Manor Estates, on 27th Street from Redbud Court to Manor Terrace for Broken Arrow School.
- Pinnacle and Western Hills areas for Quail Run School.
- Board nears purchase of site for second high school. Page 4B.