Framingham School Committee chair Michael Bower said the town received “stacks” of applications from parents and caregivers willing to pay for their students to ride the school bus this year.
“It’s very encouraging,” said Bower, adding that administrators are sifting through “hundreds of applications.”
School officials said the fee for riders ineligible for free bus transportation could be $270 to $500, with a family cap of $675 to $1,250. The fee will be determined, in part, by the number of applicants.
The School Committee will discuss busing at their meeting Thursday night, and will be prepared to give a detailed proposal with fees next Tuesday in anticipation of the town’s Special Town Meeting, he said.
Meanwhile, Framingham parent Danielle Thorpe is sponsoring a Town Meeting warrant article that would force town officials to appropriate money from other parts of the town’s budget to restore bus transportation. The School Committee approved scaled-back busing this year to save $500,000. Now, only students who live at least 2 miles away from their schools can ride.
Thorpe, who has a 7-year-old daughter, said fee-based buses aren’t good enough, and that young kids shouldn’t be forced to walk up to two miles to school.
If voters don’t approve the article during Town Meeting, which starts Oct. 19, parents will be able to pay for bus service, though.
Bower said some schools have transitioned well to the new busing system while other schools like Barbieri Elementary School haven’t. At this school, parents and caregivers are forced to line up on Dudley Road, he said.
“If we can get kids on the buses, it will alleviate the traffic in the morning,” said Bower. “That’s the highest priority—to get that under control.”
Megan McKee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.