New Jersey School District's Plan to Charge for Bus Service Angers Parents

Parents in a New Jersey school district are fuming over a new plan to charge families whose children take the bus to school. 

The Scotch Plains school district will implement a subscription bus plan beginning this fall, charging families who live less than two miles from the school $625 per child, or $1,250 for two or more children, to take the bus to school.

The pricing plan applies to students in grades 5 through 8.

"If there's going to be an increased cost, we can understand paying for it, but it seems $625 is an arbitrary price that was added," said parent John Lama.

On Roberts Lane, for example, some families on the long street will be required to pay, and others won't. 

"I think it's ridiculous," said parent Nancy Arvizzigno.

District Superintendent Margaret Hayes said in a statement that a study conducted in 2012 determined some families were receiving busing service, despite not meeting state guidelines. As a result, the board developed a policy to support subscription busing in response to requests from parents. 

Parents may opt out and decide to drive their children to school, but that could add traffic congestion around the schools. 

"My husband and I will just have to go late to work to drive her to school," said Arvizzigno. 

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