The Vernon School District has opted for a lower busing fee hike than originally planned, following outcry from parents in the area.
The original proposal would have amounted to a fee hike from $25 to $200 for in-catchment riders.
A petition against the hike garnered more than 1,200 signatures from parents, which led the School District 22 board to reconsider the rates.
The amended fee structure adopted in the board’s March 8 meeting is as follows:
- $35 registration fee – all riders (not eligible for financial hardship)
- $75 eligible rider fee (catchment area school)
- $275 eligible rider fee (approved program of choice)
- $175 courtesy rider fee (in catchment)
- $275 courtesy rider fee (out of catchment)
Should riders need a second route, the applicable fee applies for the second route. If the rider’s second address is located on the same route as the first address, only one rider fee will apply.
“This is completely unfair to rural families,” said one parent in a compilation of public responses to the originally proposed fee hike, which was presented to the board. “Despite possible subsidies for this new fee, it is still beyond comprehension that such a substantial increase would be necessary.”
The fee changes will apply to the 2021-22 school year. In April 2020, the school board was informed of a $195,000 busing shortfall.