WESTLAKE, Ohio — A decision by Westlake City Schools will cut busing to 8 private schools the school currently privates transportation for, for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.
On July 15th, a special board meeting determined the schools were using too many transportation resources. A notice was sent out to parents of Albert Einstein Academy, Holy Trinity, Lake Ridge Academy, Lakewood Catholic Academy, St. Angela Merici, St. Brendan, St. Christopher, and St. Paul Lutheran schools the next day.
It offers parents a $250 reimbursement should they accept the notice to cancel busing.
St. Angela Merici Parent Julia Friedl is opting not to accept the payment.
"I was devastated to find out with less than a month before school started my husband and I have no transportation for our children to get to school," she says.
"To just take away and just terminate transportation [even if ] they gave us a year in advance or less than a month I think I still would fell the same because we have no alternatives."
The school district services 13 non-public schools. At the end of last year, they evaluated a large portion of their transportation resources were being spent on a small number of students. Those resources are as follows, according to Westlake Schools:
- The time and distance required to provide the transportation;
- The number of pupils to be transported;
- The cost of providing transportation in terms of equipment, maintenance, personnel, and administration;
- Whether similar or equivalent service is provided to other pupils eligible for transportation;
- Whether and to what extent the additional service unavoidably disrupts current transportation schedules;
- Whether other reimbursable types of transportation are available.
The district serviced 13 private schools up until the decision. The district provided Channel 3 with this statement regarding concerns about other changes:
"We want to stress that this decision affects 174 students at eight non-public schools. It does NOT affect any other routes, including students attending public schools. No changes were made to school transportation procedures, and the district continues to bus all Westlake K-8 students living outside the one-mile radius to their respective Westlake City Schools."
Parents do have the option to appeal the change and not accept the $250 reimbursement. That must be taken up with the Ohio Department of Education.
Westlake Schools Superintendent, Scott Goggin believes Monday night school board meeting went well. People had the opportunity to publicly comment about the change.
"The comments are very thoughtful and we have a great community and often times they don'[t come just with their concerns but also some potential solutions as well." he says.
Goggin took notes and says he's impressed with people's suggestions. He says this process is not over but the district needs feedback (through the forms that were sent to parents) to be able to move forward.