The Hoover Board of Education has unanimously approved a fee structure for school bus services.
The fees will be broken into three levels: non-poverty students, riders eligible for discounted lunches and those eligible for free lunches.
There will also be discounts for families with multiple riders.
On the high end, parents who have one non-poverty student riding a bus would pay $40.75 per month. On the low end a family who has three bus riders who receive free lunch will pay $7.82 per month per student.
The fees only apply to the first three bus riders in a family.
The fees break down as follows:
|1 student rider (per month/day)
||2 student riders
||3 student riders
|Eligible for reduced lunch
|Eligible for free lunch
Community members and parents shared their concerns with the board following the vote.
"These fees will be a tremendous hardship on the parents," Dan Fulton with Save Hoover Buses said.
Parents are already paying additional activity fees for their students and Fulton says many families just won't have the extra money in their budgets.
"There are some people that are really going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to come up with the money," one woman said.
Fulton also believes the fees will impact attendance and enrollment.
Superintendent Dr. Andy Craig says the board worked with the Department of Justice to develop the fee system. He thinks they are fair and equitable.
"We tiered the discount levels based on the poverty line. Those discounts are proportional to how the poverty line, for example, relates to the per capita income here," he said.
Craig says the transportation operation is chronically underfunded and the fees will fix that.
Before the fees can be implemented, they must be approved by the U.S. District Court. If they are ultimately approved, they will go into effect this coming school year. The U.S. Department of Justice will also monitor how the fees impact families.
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