Jerry Brown proposes cuts to school bus funding

FRESNO, Calif.

Governor Brown's budget plan would eliminate all state funding for school bussing, leaving individual school districts to pay for their own transportation. Rural districts, like Caruthers would take a big hit.

"It's very unfair and it's draconian to go after school kids and their school bus."

Kirk Hunter is calling the proposed cuts, the worst he's seen in years. Hunter runs Southwest Transportation. The Caruthers based company contracts its buses with five Valley districts -- Alvina, Caruthers, Laton, Monroe, and Riverdale.

Right now, the state covers 17 and a half percent of his yearly budget. Schools make up the rest. But, if the governor's budget passes, districts will have to pay 100-percent of the total cost.

Kirk Hunter said, "Simply means more dollars have to be taken out of the classroom, so for my five school districts that receive that million dollar funding, they're going to have to take and make that million dollars up out of classroom money."

Worst case scenario, districts may have to eliminate some, if not all routes. Steve and Kelly Glick's 8th grade daughter rides the bus home from Riverdale Elementary every day. Without it, they say the financial burden could become too much to handle.

Stacie Glick said, "Even across town, it's probably a gallon a day, you figure, it is, it's 3.50 a gallon. On a fixed income, it does no good."

Steve Glick said, "Running her to and from, it adds up."

District officials we spoke to say while they do not know the final outcome, they're doing their best to make sure lawmakers hear their plea.

Some district officials plan to visit Sacramento next week, to get a better idea on these cuts. The budget is also proposing to eliminate funding for special education transportation.

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