Cutting School Buses Would Cost, Not Save Money, Oak Park School Board Says

Parents showed up at the Oak Park School District 97 board meeting Tuesday prepared for battle over a proposal that would eliminate elementary school buses to save money.

According to school district officials, the cut could potentially save up to $250,000 a year. This is based on an audit by a firm that also suggests the district considers changing school start times.

Parents were very vocal at the board meeting where trustees were slated to further discuss the possible cut.

"If I had to walk to school, (it would be a) half hour each way," parent Kari McCarthy said.

"On behalf of PTO urge board to continue services for our students," Afshan Syed said.

But their concern was quickly put to rest.

"So we found with regular education transportation that there would be no savings if we eliminate elementary routes alone," said the districts chief financial officer Alicia Evans. "And we also found it would cost more to eliminate elementary routes."

Public comment turned to scolding of the board for the way the situation was handled.

"The board and administration have not represented itself well," parent Marshall Brown said.

Parents were relieved that elementary busing would continue but voiced anger over their unnecessary panic by the board's considering the matter.

"I mean the process--something went wrong," Robert Taylor said.

The board will officially vote on a new transportation contract sometime between April 24 and May 8.

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