Hoover school board, parents discuss nixed buses

By Cassandra Mickens / Associate Editor

HOOVER – The Hoover Board of Education spent more than an hour at its Oct. 21 meeting listening to pleas from parents to reconsider its decision to discontinue bus services beginning in fall 2014.

Superintendent Andy Craig said he and board members are in preliminary talks with School Transportation Services, or STS, a third party provider, about providing bus services for affected students.  If an agreement between Hoover City Schools and STS is reached, parents would shoulder the cost of bus services. Craig also hinted at the possibility of using Hoover school buses to help minimize cost.

Craig declined to provide a specific price point for a third party provider, again citing the preliminary nature of the discussion.

Craig also provided an update about a traffic circulation study to be conducted at all Hoover schools. Craig said the purpose of the study is to pinpoint access and infrastructure needs at each Hoover school once bus services are discontinued.

Parents, some clad in baseball hats and T-shirts that read “Save the Hoover buses,” aired their grievances about the board’s decision. Craig estimates the school system will save $2.5 million per year.

Mike Lewis, the parent of a Spain Park High School freshman, said there is more to the board’s decision than cutting costs.

“I don’t think it’s about finances. It’s about weeding out the undesirables,” Lewis said.

Craig responded: “It is very much economically driven.”