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Paying to Bus Your Child to School [POLL/AUDIO]

New Jersey law requires schools to provide transportation to all students who live two or more miles away from their elementary school, or two-and-a-half miles from their high school, but in the past, many districts have picked up and dropped off students living closer. Now however, that’s starting to change.

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School Bus
(Joe Sohm, Getty Images)

“In tight financial times you do find districts having to look at courtesy busing as an area of potential cutback,” said Frank Belluscio, the director of communications for the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Belluscio said school districts in the state must adhere to a 2 percent tax levy cap, which can make funding services such as transportation difficult.

“Districts have a 2 percent tax levy cap that they have to live with, and that’s no easy task, Belluscio said. “Courtesy busing is a service that is not required, and in many instances, it could be something that the district can no longer afford to provide.”

Belluscio stressed that while transportation costs are a constant, state education aid often isn’t keeping up, which is requiring districts to make some hard choices.

“In some cases, parents are concerned because the children might have to walk along what they see as a busy road, or cross a busy intersection, so this then becomes a community issue and the school district and the municipality should be working together to resolve that matter,” Belluscio said.

The other option for parents is subscription busing.

“This allows parents to pay for their child to be transported to school on the same bus route as those students who live remote,” Belluscio said. “It’s an option that some families may prefer.”


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