Hoover school board OKs bus fees for 2014-2015 school year

By CASSANDRA MICKENS/Associate Editor

HOOVER —The Hoover Board of Education April 17 unanimously voted to charge students a fee to ride the bus to and from school beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. The decision now awaits approval by the U.S. District Court.

The proposed fee schedule would charge students $40.75 a month, or $2.26 per day, to ride the bus.

The school board’s initial decision to cut bus service in July was met with opposition from some parents and residents who claim the move was an attempt to rid the school system of minority and low-income students. School officials maintain the decision was strictly financial, citing the bus cuts would save $2.5 million annually. The school board unanimously voted to rescind its decision to cut bus service in December.

School officials have been in talks with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office since November, reviewing transportation services with the common goal of best serving students. In a memorandum to the school board, Superintendent Andy Craig said the Justice Department “would not likely oppose the implementation of a fee-based structure.”

“It is important to us and the Justice Department that we closely monitor the impact of this equitable fee-based plan on each category of students,” Craig said.

The approved fee schedule is as follows:

  • Non-poverty students: $40.75 per month, or $2.26 a day
  • Students on reduced lunch: $20.38 per month, or $1.13 a day
  • Students on free lunch: $14.88 per month, or 83 cents a day
  • Families with two riders: $28.53 per month, or $1.59 a day, per student
  • Families with two riders on reduced lunch: $14.27 per month, or 80 cents a day, per student
  • Families with two riders on free lunch: $10.42 per month, or 58 cents a day, per student
  • Families with 3+riders: $21.40 per month, or $1.19 a day, per student
  • Families with 3+ riders on reduced lunch: $10.70 per month, or 59 cents a day, per student
  • Families with 3+ riders on free lunch: $7.82 per month, or 43 cents a day, per student

School officials’ next step will be to establish a methodology and process to monitor the results of the plan, which will be sent to the Justice Department, Craig said.