By Karen Billing
The San Dieguito Union High School District was able to work some changes and find some wiggle room to bring back its bus shuttle service to Torrey Pines High School.
Eliminating the four high school shuttles in the district’s transportation service was among a list of $3 million in proposed budget cuts for the 2013-14 school year impacting about 220 students, many of whom are included in the district’s free and reduced lunch program and whose families don’t own a vehicle. For those affected students, the service was the only way for them to get to Torrey Pines High School from Solana Beach. Shuttles also run to La Costa Canyon and San Dieguito Academy.
Cutting the transportation would’ve saved $100,000 but the district’s director of transportation, Daniel Love, and deputy superintendent Rick Schmitt were able to figure out a way to still offer the service for $30,000 with no new bus drivers and altering pick-up times.
“Rick has a heart for the kids these shuttles are serving,” said SDUHSD Superintendent Ken Noah. “He’s been working on this for quite some time.”
Noah said that for at least one year the district can earmark $45,000 in the budget for the shuttle service, especially because the district won’t have a board election this year. Noah said the district will likely have to revisit the issue in the next year.
The routes will have very early pick-up times but Schmitt said feedback from families has been that the 6:25 a.m. pick-up was preferred over no bus at all. The district’s decision is not a complete reversal and it may not be able to offer the shuttles in the future but, for right now, the district is able to provide this service.