Hoover Schools consider fee based bus system - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Hoover Schools consider fee based bus system

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HOOVER - AL -

 

 Hoover City School leaders have now unanimously passed a budget that cuts out bus service. It comes after pressure from bus drivers and parents to keep the buses rolling. Hoover says money was the issue- and it may go to a fee-based bus system, but parents and employees are hoping the district will find the money it needs, with cuts in other areas.

 

"The first thing I thought was how are some of these kids going to get to school?" Karen Cunningham, a Hoover bus driver said.

Karen Cunningham has driven a bus for Hoover Schools for the past nine years. 

"It was pretty devastating honestly," Cunningham said. "I just got divorced and I really needed that job and the benefits that go with it. I've been lucky enough to find something else that I hope will work out but a lot of people don't have that, especially the ones who have been driving 20-25 years."

"I either have to decide whether it's my job or getting my child to school," Gianna Zellner, a parent said.

"It's going to increase traffic," Pam MacDougall, a Hoover parent told us. "It's going to increase traffic on roads that are not built for an increase of anywhere from 5-600 vehicles twice a day."

School leaders say it comes down to dollars. They're spending more than they're taking in - after state and federal funding cuts.

Revenue is down 20 million from 2008 and enrollment increased by around 1500 students. 

"It's important that we take a look at what is best to keep the school system afloat financially so that the effect is not felt in the classroom," Jason Gaston, Hoover City Schools Representative said.

To save money, the district has also increased class sizes, reduced interest on debt, reduced employee benefits and support staff sizes. 

It's now working with potential providers to provide a fee-based bus system - and may offer an endowment for under privileged students. 

"If we contract with a company and they are allowed to come into the community to the best of our ability, we will make sure it's a safe company, it's reputable, and they have drivers that are going to take care of students," Gaston said. 

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