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Parents angered over plan to eliminate busing for 3,000 Freehold Regional HS students

School districts are now only required to provide free bus transportation for high school students if they live 2 1/2 miles or more from their schools.

Matt Trapani and Kimberly Bukowiec

May 18, 2023, 4:52 PM

Updated 401 days ago

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Changes in the Freehold Regional High School District will impact how thousands of students get to school.
The changes will impact about 3,000 students who will no longer have free school bus transportation to school. Some parents tell News 12 New Jersey that they are not happy about it.
“My first thought was 2 miles of walking to school just doesn’t make sense to me. Too much trouble can happen,” says parent Debbie Syarto.
Carmen Doetsch says that her granddaughter won’t be affected by the change, but she says she is against it for others.
“The street I live on, there are no sidewalks…I'm concerned that they'll have to walk on the edge of the street and that could be dangerous,” she says.
Students within eight Monmouth County municipalities will lose access to school buses in September. School districts are now only required to provide free bus transportation for high school students if they live 2 1/2 miles or more from their schools.
“This was very difficult. We have to keep our schools intact, educationally. That's what my parents in Howell all tell me. They want all of their schools to look the same,” says Peter Bruno, president of the Freehold Regional High School District.
Some districts will provide free courtesy busing for students who live closer. This could be a relief to people who are concerned about the safety of the children.
“The kids are not going to be safe. You don't know what kind of trouble they can get into. At that age, they're easily swayed,” says Chiara Russo, who is against the change.
Bruno says that the district is looking at a plan called “subscription busing.”
“It will alleviate the pressure of the parents; it will be a cost. The administration is looking at that now,” he says.
Bruno says eliminating courtesy busing will save the district $3.5 million.
“Keep the faith. We're hoping we'll get some money and more funds from the state,” Bruno says.


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