When the San Francisco Unified School District curtails after-school yellow-bus transportation at Sherman Elementary School, Michael Eaton might have to find another academic program for his son.
Eaton and his partner both work full-time jobs in the Financial District, which makes it impossible to leave work in the middle of the day to transport their son from his Marina district school to his Pacific Heights after-school program.
And Muni is not an option because Eaton’s 6-year-old son is not old enough to ride alone.
“That can take up to three hours,” Eaton said. “We all know the schedule changes, and if you miss a transfer it can take a lot longer.”
The complete or partial elimination of yellow-bus service to 44 San Francisco elementary schools is part of the SFUSD’s plan to eliminate 43 percent of its entire fleet by the 2013-14 school year. The cuts would reduce the district’s total annual transportation budget from $6 million to $3.42 million.
The reductions would start at the beginning of the next school year, when 11 elementary schools — Cesar Chavez, Francis Scott Key, Garfield, Grattan, Marshall, Miraloma, Parker, Peabody Sunset, Sutro and Yick Wo — will completely lose bus service. Four more schools — Alice Fong Yu, Clarendon, Lilienthal and Rooftop — will see some level of reduction.
However, Grattan, Sutro and Peabody offer their own after-school programs, providing a fallback option for children who attend those schools and a private after-school program.
District officials say this fall’s wave of cuts will affect an estimated 270 elementary school students. By fall 2013, the cuts are expected to affect an estimated 950 students.
A majority of the children bound for private programs are headed to the Jewish Community Center, which Eaton’s son attends. Organization spokesman Nathaniel Bergson-Michelson said roughly 140 students who attend the Havurah Youth Center, its K-6 after-school program, arrive via a yellow bus from a public school.
Bergson-Michelson said center officials are “very concerned” about how the SFUSD cuts will affect their students.
“Nearly all the students from public schools do ride the bus,” he said. “We very much want to continue making after-school programs possible for school kids.”
And yet, he acknowledged that the district needs to curtail such service to meet its financial goals.
The exact service cuts affecting the other 29 schools will not be finalized until May.
Depending on the options available to Eaton at that point, he said he may have to find another option for his son.
“We love our after-school program,” he said. “We’d like to keep him there.”
55 Elementary schools with current yellow-bus service
11 Campuses slated to lose service next school year (44 by 2013-14)
44 Buses currently in operation
25 Buses to be used by 2013-14
43% Reduction in buses used by 2013-14