By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An agreement is now in place to preserve Septa transportation for thousands of Philadelphia high school students.

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The deal means that 7,500 high school students living less than two miles from school will still get student transit passes, just as they did last year.

The school district had considered extending the student walking radius to two miles from 1½, to save $3.8 million as part of a package of budget cuts to allow school to open on time.

But parents raised concerns over safety and increased truancy if the plan went into effect.

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So, the district and Septa worked out an agreement to restructure some debt and preserve the Septa rides for those public, private, and charter school students, according to school district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

“We are far enough into the conversations to be able to say that we are maintaining the services as they were last year,” he told KYW Newsradio today.

Public schools open on schedule this coming Monday, while the district continues to bank on a cigarette tax, currently stalled in Harrisburg, to avoid further program cuts.


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