This year has seen the Pasadena Unified School District cut faculty and support staff, shorten the school year, and close several schools. Next on the chopping block are cuts to student transportation services.
PUSD reports that the State of California is cutting more than $1.8 million in monies designated for PUSD, with $1.6 million of that in bus transportation funds. The district has announced that it will tap reserves to maintain bus services for the remainder of the school year.
Currently, 2,800 students per day use buses. With the need to increase reductions in transportation spending for the 2012-2013 school year, discontinuing much of the busing is on the table. The option being considered is to limit busing to students who the district is legally required to transport.
Supt. Jon R. Gundry stated, "The prudent actions by the PUSD School Board should allow us to escape damage inflicted by these cuts for the 2011-2012 school year. Unfortunately, I worry about next year.”
PUSD says that schools have taken more than $20 million in cuts over the past three years. As well as staff reductions, programs have been lost or eliminated. According to PUSD, class sizes have increased, summer school was cancelled, school libraries have lost support, and professional development for teacher has been greatly reduced. Faculty, administrators, and support staff have seen furloughs to save money.
"The PUSD family has done a wonderful job of keeping our school doors open and the lights on,” Gundry stated. “But make no mistake: these cuts to education hurt kids."
The school district offices are closed for the winter break and could not be reached for comment.