Here is Kenney's report ("Parents, Bus Drivers Upset Over Plan to Cut Routes"):
Parents, Bus Drivers Upset Over Plan To Cut Routes
Plan Would Lay Off Drivers, Limit Parents' Options
A Decatur Township Schools bus driver and some parents claim the district's cost-cutting transportation plan could put students' safety in jeopardy.
The school system is considering laying off bus drivers, cutting routes and changing pickup and drop-off times, 6News' Kara Kenney reported.
"My concerns are the overcrowding of the buses. There's already enough fights and enough problems on the buses," said a bus driver who did not want to be identified for fear of losing her job. "Add more kids, they're going to be crowded, three to a seat. They can't fit. The kids are too big."
The bus driver said she normally transports 50 to 60 children, but under the new plan, she expects almost 80 students per bus.
"I don't think the school district is looking at the kids' best interest," the bus driver said.
Numbers obtained by 6News show the district is spending twice the transportation dollars it has. Projected revenues for 2011 are $2,050,000, while estimated expenditures are $3,910,000, a difference of $1.9 million.
Operations Director Susan Adams told 6News one way the district operated inefficiently was by assigning all 6,600 children in the district to a school bus, whether they ride or not.
The school district has already asked parents to register for bus transportation so that the district can account for car riders and fill buses to capacity.
Also under the cost-cutting plan, the school will no longer allow children to be picked up and dropped off in different locations, which would impact many divorced and working parents.
"If they stop doing that, what's going to happen with the kids? They're going to be stuck," said grandparent Cindy Parker. "What's going to happen with the parents? They're not going to be able to go to work and make the money."
"Baby sitter, day cares, people arrange to have certain drop-off points," said mother Barbara Tedrow. "They have certain hours they work, and it's going to mess up everything."
6News emailed school administrators and stopped by Thursday, but no one would discuss the transportation plan.
In February 2010, 6News uncovered Decatur Township school buses idling unnecessarily and pointed it out to Superintendent Don Stinson.
"As we look at cutting transportation dollars, all aspects will have to be looked at. The fuel cost, how can we reduce fuel, and you've shown me a way," said Stinson last year.
Decatur Township Schools Operations Director Susan Adams told 6News the district wants to offer busing because 60 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch programs and the bus is their only way to school.
The school board is expected to consider the transportation plan at its meeting Tuesday.