More than 1,000 Seattle students could soon lose bus service

SEATTLE -- The Seattle School Board will hear from parents tonight on a plan to cut bus service to more than 1,000 students who attend school outside their neighborhoods.

In 2010, the school district implemented a neighborhood-based system that guarantees children a space in the school closest to their home.  For students already enrolled at a school outside that zone, the district promised to continue busing for two more years but the district twice extended the grandfathering arrangement.

Now the district wants to cut bus service for about 1,076 students as a way to save transportation dollars.  The proposal would trim about $3.4 million from the budget next fall.

The district is also talking about changing the busing schedule so buses arrive at three times in the morning: 7:35 at most high and middle schools, and either 8:25 or 9:15 at the elementary schools.

Parents at four K-8 schools are fired up because the district wants to move the start time there to 7:35 am, about 40 minutes earlier than it is now.  Those affected schools are Jane Addams, Pathfinder, Salmon Bay and TOPS at Seward, all option schools that draw from a wide area.

There is currently a budget shortfall of about $18 million in the district and the board asked administrators to find a cost savings in transportation.

The School Board had initially planned on voting on this proposal tonight but now says it will hear public testimony and vote in two weeks.  The meeting begins at 5 p.m. and we will have the latest on our news at 4:00, 5:00, 9:00 and 10:00 tonight.