Changes loom for school bus routes

Some or all of the routes for San Francisco Unified School District’s 44 school buses could change by next school year in response to changes in the district’s student assignment system.

Changes to transportation are long overdue, but the district has been waiting until the student assignment system overhaul was completed, said Myong Leigh, assistant superintendent for policy and operations. A new policy, which will now give the neighborhood a child lives in greater consideration in assigning the child to a school, was approved in March by the Board of Education and boundaries for neighborhood schools were approved last month.

New boundaries in hand, the district may now consider eliminating underused buses in some areas and adding stops or lines in others to transport students in populated areas of The City to less populated schools. The district, which faces a $113 million deficit over the next two school years, has discussed cutting the number of busses to save money. The district’s approved budget includes $6.2 million for general education transportation and additional $15.8 million for special education.

Only 4,200 general education students are transported to and from school every day, Leigh said. The district has 55,000 students overall, many of whom take Muni to school or travel by other means.

“It’s absolutely important,” Ellie Rossiter, executive director of Parents for Public Schools, said. “Parents rely on public transportation and school bus transit to get kids to school. It could be the deciding factor in school choices.”

Paul Stein, a 39-year veteran school bus driver and United Transportation Union Local 1741 representative, said any potential cuts would not only affect the contracted bus drivers, but students themselves.

Know and go

What: Committee on Student Assignment
Topic: San Francisco Unified School District’s Transportation policy
Number of students affected: 4,200
Number of buses: 44
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday
Where: 555 Franklin St.

Source: San Francisco Unified School District

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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