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Charging For Magnet School Bus Service An Option?

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Aired 4/20/09

Students are demanding the San Diego Unified School District protect magnet school bus transportation next year. The district wants to cut magnet school buses to save 10 million dollars. Parents and teachers also plan to speak-out against that idea at today's school board meeting. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

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Students at the Language Academy in the College Area picked up pencils and paper when they heard their school buses might be going away.
 

A stack of their letters is now destined for the San Diego school board.
 

Students reading from their letters: 

 

Student 1: I'm a third grader at the language academy…

Student 2: Me and my school can't survive without buses because 57 percent of my school rides buses…

Student 3: I think that's not fair because I won't be able to see all my friends…
 

The situation is not unique to the Language Academy. All magnet schools face the same situation.
 

Best friends Delaney Sanders and Lauren Dolor say despite what people might think, they like taking the bus.
 

“Its kind of fun because you get to be with all your friends,” Sanders said. “When you're in the car, you only get to be with your parents and your siblings. Being on the bus, you get to play.”
 

“And you get to have a conversation (with friends) and things like that,” Dolor added.  

 
Some families have proposed paying for bus service. There is limited shuttle service at one San Diego school. But parent Bey-Ling Sha says paying for transportation defeats the purpose of a magnet school program.
 

“If you're creating magnet programs to give equal access to public education, high-quality public education, for all residents of San Diego County, then asking parents to pay changes that equation,” Sha said.
 

And San Diego school officials say charging for bus service would not save money because the district would have to subsidize hundreds of families who can't afford it.   
 

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.  

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