MENIFEE (CBSLA.com) — You won’t see a big yellow bus rumbling down the road picking up school children in Menifee.
That’s because the city in Southwestern Riverside County has eliminated its bus service for students.
The decision to end bus service has many parents worried about what’s going to happen when school starts back up next month. Menifee is still a fairly rural area, with a lot of dirt roads and not a lot of public transportation.
Parents packed a Menifee school board meeting Tuesday night to protest the district’s recent decision.
A lot of people in Menifee commute to jobs in other cities, and they say they just can’t drive their kids to and from school. That’s why they came and asked school board members to find some way to save the buses.
“For my daughter to get to school on local transportation, it’s going to take her one hour and 21 minutes,” said parent Rose Moreno. “She’s still going to have to walk three miles in the morning and three miles in the evening.”
“I ask all of you on the panel, when’s the last time you walked six miles in a day, with a backpack, in 100 degrees in August,” said parent Greg Shaw.
District officials say they understand the frustration of parents, but they’re not required by law to provide transportation for students. And they blame the state for their budget problems.
“If we were funded equitably, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” said Superintendent Dr. Steve Kennedy.
But parents say the district just spent millions on a new administration building.
“They’ve got this beautiful place. They’re putting all the money into themselves and not the people,” said parent Ann Limbourne.
They also say they should have been given more warning before deciding to cut busing.
There are about 1,300 students who were being bused last year. District officials say they are working with the city and police to try and make the streets and sidewalks a little safer for those who will now be walking or biking to school.