Thousands more California students will have to find their own way to school this fall, as districts slash bus routes to cope with budget shortfalls and high fuel costs.
Critics worry that the cuts will increase traffic around schools, shift costs to parents already struggling with rising gas prices and prompt more absenteeism, hurting students’ academic achievement. But paramount is the fear that the reductions will endanger students as more walk or drive to school.
“All the parents, we’ve been scrambling to try to work out carpools,” said Wayne Tate, whose second-grader’s bus to Castille Elementary, two miles from their home in Mission Viejo, was eliminated. “For somebody that young, that’s a pretty long way to walk or ride a bike. All you need is one kid getting hit to realize that maybe the [savings] wasn’t worth it.”
Districts say they have no choice.