DOE finalizing list of eliminated bus routes

Published On: Jun 19 2012 10:00:06 AM HST   Updated On: Jun 20 2012 07:53:33 AM HST

Hawaii Kai resident Rosa Young picked up her son and his friends from summer school Tuesday at Niu Valley Middle School.

The state Department of Education is recommending eliminating four of the school's neighborhood bus routes.

"If the bus systems are not there we are going to have to rely more on parents and people getting together to carpool," said Young.

Facing a $17 million shortfall, the state is cutting and consolidating bus routes on every island except Lanai and Molokai.

Of more than 172,000 public school students, the DOE said less than 25 percent ride the school bus.

"Without bus service I'm afraid that many of the students will choose not to go to school," said State Representative Mark Takai.

The DOE suggested cutting nearly 130 school bus routes, impacting nearly 4,000 students.

On Tuesday, Takai urged the Board of Education to use a portion of the $8 million in federal funds he recently secured.

"This money that dropped last week was not expected anytime soon, so that fact that the money just came a few days ago is welcoming news because they had that huge shortfall that needed to be made up," Takai said.

School officials agreed to use $5.4 million, which the state said will reduce the cuts, but the DOE is still finalizing its list.

Not impacted by the plan are special needs kids and students who receive free or reduced price lunch.

"Going into the future, we do not want a system that requires money coming from the heavens every year to make up the deficit," said DOE assistant superintendent Randy Moore.

Moore said he expects to have a finalized list by next week.


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