Created: 02/22/2013 5:45 PM KSTP.com By: Beth McDonough
Thousands of students in St. Paul will lose their ride to school.
Right now, they're being bused at the district's expense. Starting this fall, that won't be an option for some. That's because the school district is implementing a new policy.
Right now, twice a day, everyday of the school week, buses are lined up along Englewood Avenue. They pick up and take home 90-percent of the students here, driving all over the city. That's because they don't live close to campus. The free rides are part of the district's decades-old desegregation plan.
But the end of the school year will mark the end of an era for most of the students here and at all of St. Pauls 64 schools.
Jackie Statum Allen works for the school district she says, "there's about 2800 elementary students who will no longer receive transportation at their current school so that means that will be a transition for those families, so they'll need to figure out their own transportation or choose another school."
"Bussing is definitely a factor but when it comes to quality I'd rather have them go to this one," David Albornoz, a parent, told us. He wants his two children to go to the same school, even if he has to drive them himself.
Jennifer Komatsu commutes half an hour each way from her home in Inver Grove Heights to Hancock Elementary. She wanted her children exposed to the diversity plus, "I feel like I'm really getting my money's worth out of St. Paul Public Schools."
School leaders admit dividing up the district into 6 zones will save about $2.4 million by running 34 fewer buses.
Principal Craig Anderson understands the dollars and believes it makes good sense to encourage kids to go to schools in their own neighborhood, "learning closer to home and having family connections is a real important thing for a childs education."