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Parents blast Sweetwater Union High School District's plan to cut school bus routes

Posted at 6:46 AM, May 29, 2019

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A group of parents criticized the Sweetwater Union High School District for their decision to slash school bus routes.

Last week, the district announced that four of its 13 high schools would have fewer bus routes starting in the 2019-20 school year. The district acknowledged that part of the decision to cut routes was to help balance its budget.

10News learned the move will save the district roughly $500,000.

At a school board meeting Tuesday night, many parents voiced their opposition to the district’s plan. Some said the late notice of the cut bus routes did not leave them enough time to make other arrangements. Others told district officials that eliminating bus routes will force many students to walk miles just to get to school.

RELATED: Sweetwater Union High School District finalizing cuts to positions, bus routes

One parent told officials, “I don’t understand the argument of busses versus teachers. That does not need to be the case. There are plenty of other ways to go about it.”

Another parent said, “According to Google, it would take my son about an hour to walk to school. It’s over three miles. That means he has to leave for school between six and six-thirty in the morning, crossing those intersections.”

While the district said parents do subsidize the cost of bussing, it’s actually only a portion of the total cost to Sweetwater.

“Part of the concern is that we've been subsidizing them. The cost of about $400 per student … the true cost is probably roughly about $900 to $1,100 per student,” said district spokesman Manny Rubio.

RELATED: List of bus routes being cut

District officials noted that they are one of the few districts that still provide home-to-school transportation, even though California law does not require it, except for special needs students.

The district said they would rather eliminate bus routes instead of making cuts in the classrooms, with Rubio adding, “Our biggest priority is the classroom.”

The subject of bus routes was not on the Tuesday night meeting agenda, so no further action was taken on the matter.

Click here to view a timeline of the Sweetwater Union High School District's budget problems