ESD: More students to get free EMTA busing

ERIE, Pa. -- Some students will have travel farther to school this year, but many of them will be eligible for free bus rides.

Erie’s Public Schools said 2,000 more students than last year, or a total of up to 4,500 students, could rely on bussing during the 2017-18 school year.

High school students who live two miles or more from school will receive district-issued passes for free. Elementary and middle school students must live at least 1.5 miles away for the free rides.

It is the first time that free EMTA bussing has been offered to high school students based on distance, according to the district’s superintendent Brian Polito.

He said, "We did move our start time for the elementary back an hour, because we had to stagger the starts in order to accommodate the additional students that are being transported."

With changes in time, more families are expected to use child care services.

"The district says that more students being bussed is a reason for staggered start times; and with the changes in time, more families are expect to use child care services."

Erie School Board director Angela McNair said, "If people have child care providers that they reach out to them first and reach out to child care information services first to see if they can offer some help or assistance, but by all means we wants parents to feel free to sign up to these programs."

Parents who sign up will be able to drop off students as early as 7:45 a.m. All elementary schools will offer the free service.

“We’re putting the parents and the families through a lot with all the changes we’ve already made. To charge for before-school programming just didn’t make a lot of sense to us,” said Petrungar.

Before any students get to school, the buildings must be ready. Polito said work is progressing at Erie High School. He said fire remediation work is almost complete.

"Things are going great up there, the remediation is really wrapping up, and their focusing on getting the power up in the c-wing, as well as getting the structural steel up," said Polito.

Petrungar added, "We're probably going to have some blips. Every school year we do anyways, but I don't think it's going to be like people think it's going to be. I think we're going to do very well."

Information about bus routes, open house events and other resources can be found at Erie Public School’s “Back to School” portal.


 


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