MPS changes mean some students lose school bus transportation

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The first day of school for Montgomery Public Schools meant changes.  The system closed or consolidated eight schools and changed the attendance zones for many students.  Those changes meant some students lost school bus transportation and others have to take a longer trip to school.

For Tracey Perkins' daughter, instead of going just a half mile to McIntrye Middle School, a trip to school means she would now have to cross busy Fairview Avenue as part of a two mile trek to Bellingrath.  That's still within the 2.5 mile restriction for students to take a school bus.

'She's 13.  My oldest two daughters go to Carver, she would have no one to walk with," Perkins said.

Perkins says she was recently laid off and can't afford a car.  She called to see whether her child would be able to take the school bus this year.

"He put my address in and said I'm sorry there won't be any transportation for that area," she said. "They have chose to send the kids to these schools, but there's no way to get them there."

MPS officials said the change in attendance zones put most students in schools closer to home, something many parents had wanted.  They said the system would need thousands of dollars in new funding, if not millions more dollar to provide transportation for each student or even to lower the restriction to two miles.

"We'd love to transport every child, but we just don't have the money for it," said Tom Salter, a spokesperson for the school system.  "The rule is and has been two and a half miles from school."

In the meantime, parents like Perkins will find have to find other solutions to make sure their children get to and from school safely.  The Montgomery City Council discussed the issue last week.  Members said they hoped to work to find some solutions to the issue, but said they likely would not be able to kick in any more funding.

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