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Budget shortfall stops Union County school buses May 14-21

11:06 PM, May 11, 2012   |    comments
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Union County students who ride the bus will soon need to find a new way to get to school for the last seven days of the school year.

A budget shortfall means the district can't afford to bus the children from May 14 until the last day of school on the 21st.

Despite budget cuts in September, the school system is currently $200,000 short, including a $90,000 hole in the transportation budget.

The news leaves some families wondering how they'll get their kids to class.

Jolene Robbins relies on the bus to get her two Paulette Elementary School children to class.

Robbins doesn't drive, and her fiance takes the family's only car to work.

She says she got a letter in her children's backpack Friday afternoon finalizing the decision to cut buses.

"I'm thinking 'where did all our tax money go?'"says Robbins.

The letter says students who don't attend the last week of school will be considered absent. It says parents are permitted to excuse children from five days of school with a written note.

The letter also states parents facing a "transportation hardship" can appeal their student's absences to the school.

Parent Dawn Hill also has kids in elementary school and she says the school board's decision will hurt her family.

"I work everyday, Monday through Friday to support them," says Dawn. "I depend on the buses because I want to them to get a an education."

She says when she heard about the news, she visited the superintendent's office for answers.

She asked them if they could use unused snow days to cut the school year short to avoid the hardship of not having transportation.

She says they told her that wasn't possible.

It's especially frustrating, Hill says, in light of the $30 wheel tax passed three years ago to help build a new Paulette Elementary School and add on to several other school buildings.

"I said 'we have enough money to build a new school, but we don't have the money to get our children to the school for an education?,'"says Hill.

Robbins says she's afraid of what will happen if she can't get her kids to class.

"They said that if the kids miss more than 10 days that they could put us in jail for truancy."

Some high school teachers say they plan to get to work early to help supervise children whose parents need to drop them off and pick them up coming from work.

We tried to reach the Union County Superintendent's Office for comment on Friday afternoon but were unsuccessful.

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