Some Lawrence students are going to miss the bus next fall.
This week, school board members — motivated by saving nearly $450,000 annually — cut rides for elementary and junior high students who live within 2.5 miles from their schools.
“I just want to make sure that people are aware, like the busing, we want to make (them) aware that this is something that impacts people,” said board member Rich Minder.
The elimination of busing for students who live up to 2.5 miles from their schools was among $1.25 million in cuts the school board made Tuesday night.
The move essentially eliminates 11 bus routes, affecting 1,100 students in the district. Students who live 2.5 miles or closer to their school already pay to ride the bus. Now, the district will offer no bus service to students who live within 2.5 miles — regardless of whether they pay.
“The state mandate (says) that you only have to transport those children over 2.5 miles in order to receive reimbursement,” said director of special operations Rick Gammill. “We do not receive any money (from the state) for those students under 2 1/2 miles from school.”
While some elementary schools are surrounded by residential neighborhoods, highways sever some school attendance areas.
Some Schwegler School students, for example, will have to cross both 23rd and Iowa streets if they walk to school.
Gammill said some options include carpooling, parents walking with children and even use of the T. He also noted the district will not be adding any crossing guards.
More than 5,500 students were eligible for the pay-to-ride program, but only 1,100 took advantage of it. Of the 1,800 students who live more than 2.5 miles from school, about 1,000 use the services.
In the Tonganoxie school district, a pay-to-ride policy was adopted May 11.
The policy calls for students who live fewer than 2.5 miles from their school and want to ride the bus to pay $240 each year. The maximum charge per household is $360.
Previously, the Tonganoxie school district did not charge busing fees. Students living more than 2.5 miles from the school they attend will continue to be picked up on bus routes free of charge.