PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Catholic and private school students throughout the region are just finding out that they may not have a bus ride to school. While some local leaders are working on it, transporting students to school is causing major concerns for thousands of families.
As we get closer and closer to the beginning of the school year, many parents still don’t know if they’ll be able to put their kids on a bus.
“It’s a vital part of the educational process to have transportation to school,” said Sue DiLisio, the mother of a senior at Conwell Egan High School.
The school is one of the thousands of catholic and nontraditional schools in Pennsylvania that rely on busing provided by public school districts and paid for through taxes to transport students to their schools.
Now just weeks away from some private schools offering hybrid or in-person learning models, families still don’t know how they’ll get there.
“So, this is just one more challenge we don’t need to provide to parents,” DiLisio said.
“It’s time to lock this down. Make decisions, get very distinct guidelines to our schools so teachers and students and everyone knows what’s going on,” said Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff.
Benninghoff is still waiting for clarification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education on what will happen.
So are we. Officials tell CBS3 they have a team reviewing the transportation issue and will release guidance as soon as possible.
The Commonwealth fully funded the educational system this year, Benninghoff says, to avoid this very discussion.
“You have parents who may have been off and who finished last year teaching their children but now have to go back to work and can’t be full-time school teachers in the house,” he said.
But now, as many public schools have decided to go all-virtual, it’s left anxious moments for those waiting for a big yellow answer.
“We knew that that was going to be kind of a lynchpin on what might happen but we as taxpayers in this area have every right to that busing and I think the model that we’re preparing for we should have the ability to take carry that out,” said DiLisio.
Some districts, like the Philadelphia School District, are offering $150 a month stipends to families who opt out of busing.
The deadline to apply is Aug. 28.