Pre-K student not allowed on Santa Fe school bus due to age

Posted at: 08/19/2013 6:52 PM
Updated at: 08/22/2013 7:10 AM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It was a big day, the first day of school for some pre-K kids in Santa Fe. One little girl was ready to go, standing at the bus stop, but her father called KOB Eyewitness News 4 because of what happened next.

Monday was 4-year-old Laney Roberts' first day at Turquoise Trail Charter School in Santa Fe. That first day didn't start out the way she or her father were expecting. Albert Roberts was really counting on being able to send Laney to pre-K on the bus this morning with her 6-year-old sister. But she wasn't able to get on.

Santa Fe District Transportation Officials told Roberts it's state law. Students have to be at least 5 years old to ride a school bus. That means pre-K kids like Laney have to find their own way to school. KOB asked Laney if she wanted to ride.

"Mm hm, because my sister rides on the bus," she said.

Albert said it's not just a seat on the bus. This could be a road block for his daughter's education.

"It forces me in the position of either not being able to work or me pulling my child out of school until she's old enough to ride the bus," Albert said. "A seat on the bus. Not asking for a special bus, I'm not asking for a special route, I'm not asking for a special stop. All I want is a seat on the bus for my youngest."

The state's Public Education Department told KOB district superintendents have the final say on the issue. They say if there's an open seat, the Santa Fe Superintendent can give the OK for Laney to ride with her sister.

A Santa Fe Public Schools spokeperson told KOB the district doesn't receive funding for kids under the age of 5. They said they will have to look into the issue.