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Education

North Texas School District to Charge Students For Riding Bus

group_of_buses.jpg
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News
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Parents in Keller, Texas, a relatively affluent suburb of Fort Worth, will have to start paying for their children to ride the school bus next year. Here’s how much it will cost:

  • One student is $185 per semester
  • Additional students are $135 each
  • Students eligible for free and reduced lunch are $100 each

The school district plans to start charging parents because its $200 million budget will have to be slashed by $30 million next school year. That’s a 15 percent cut.
Keller ISD held a tax rate election in June, trying to convince voters to pay more property taxes to help close the gap. But the tax increase was rejected by 56 percent of voters.

“A parent that we visited with last night said it would have been substantially cheaper for me to pay the taxes on my house than it would have been to have me pay to have our children ride the bus,” Keller ISD Superintendent James Veitenheimer told KUT News. “I think many of our bus riding parents are feeling the same way.”

Veitenheimer says school officials made clear before June’s tax rate election that if it were rejected, the district would have to find other ways to fund its transportation system. But now the school board is getting an earful from angry parents who say they were caught off guard.  

“The people that it’s directly impacting now are beginning to react,” Keller school board member Cindy Lotton said in a phone interview. “But to be honest, some of those people have acted like they are just now hearing about this, even though we’ve been talking about it for a year.”

The Keller ISD school board last night instructed school district staff to include the pricing regime in their 2011-12 budget. The board will vote on the budget in August.

 

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