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Students left on corner as District reduces busing service

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 18, 2014 05:59 PM
Photo: Caitlin Regan/Flickr

"Transportation is a privilege, not a right," says the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Last week, the Philadelphia School District announced that 7,500 fewer high school kids would be so honored.

The move came as the District announced that it would close its $81 million budget gap with a mishmash of cuts and hopes.

In order to save $3.8 million, high school students living within two miles of school will no longer receive subsidized SEPTA TransPasses. The previous threshold was 1.5 miles.

''We would hope that this wouldn't have an impact on students being able to get to school on time," said Fran Burns, who oversees student transportation as the District's chief operating officer.

"Maybe there will be carpooling or different mechanisms of families helping each other to get to school," Burns said. "But ... the hope is that there wouldn't be an effect on attendance."

The change – which the District hopes will be temporary – will affect 4,586 students at District schools, 2,148 students at charters and 729 students at other nonpublic schools.

The District uses its own internal mapping tool to determine home-to-school distances. Using something like Google maps may yield "some differentiation," said Burns.

Last year, about 44,000 students -- 25,000 District, 13,000 charter and 6,000 nonpublic -- in grades 9 through 12 received subsidized school transportation.

The changes will not affect elementary or middle school students.

Burns said the District hadn't yet spoken with SEPTA about the changes, but would soon inquire whether affected students could be eligible for the student discount that school districts receive.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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Comments (10)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 18, 2014 6:31 pm

What's wrong with walking two miles to school? It's good exercise. We have an obesity epidemic in this city and it would help.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 18, 2014 7:14 pm

What's wrong with it are the drug, gang and crime infested neighborhoods that some of these will have to traverse (TWICE) each day (including elementary kids).  Plus the weather when streets are not plowed, walking through rain and slush and dealing with rush hour (both ways) traffic trying to cross major arteries.

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on August 19, 2014 7:19 am

Know what else is wrong? On average it will take most children 35-40 minutes (each way) to walk 2 miles.

Submitted by gayle Robinson (not verified) on August 18, 2014 6:06 pm
This is a complete outrage and very destructive anything to continue to destroy and disrupt public education.
Submitted by Anon, anon, we must go anon... (not verified) on August 18, 2014 9:41 pm

If the Lower Merion kids had to walk two miles to school, there would be an epic amount of wailing and gnashing ot teeth!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 18, 2014 11:28 pm

Wish I could click a "like" button for your words

Linda K.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 19, 2014 9:25 am

I don't see a problem with the kids walking.. I had to do...We are a school district.. not a transporation center...it is the school's responsiblity to teach the kids once they get to school. It is not the school's responsiblity to get them to school! That is the parents' responsibilty!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 19, 2014 8:47 pm

I went to school for Jr. High and Sr. High outside of my neighborhood. It was my parents responsibility to pay for my transportation to and from school. 

Submitted by peterhenderson (not verified) on August 27, 2014 2:27 am
Students should be given the priority all the time. they must not be left here and there. This is pathetic and shocking indeed.
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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 25, 2014 9:04 am

just a quick

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