MPS board members consider new bus times

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Public School leaders are considering a major change to school bus times. They're examining two new options that many are not happy about.

After hearing from nearly 20 parents, MPS staff and students on Thursday night, board members decided to table the topic and asked for more discussion and ideas no later than April. 

The district transportation department believes a three-tiered bus system is a proactive solution for the district and its families.

“The aim – to have a positive academic, operational and economic impact on the district without the need to consider a transportation reduction," MPS Business Services Senior Director David Solik-Fifarek explained.

Right now, buses run two times per day. The new proposals would create three routes, with high school students starting earlier or later in the morning.

“This is just crazy," teacher Elizabeth Kosmach told board members.

Many parents and MPS staff don’t like either option, especially when considering families with students in different grades.

"Where’s the guarantee that these buses are going to come on time?" asked mother Kristi Mootz.

Though it could save the district between $4 to $6 million in fiscal year 2021, some board members think its at the cost of students and families.

“As a school board I accept the fact that we are in dire financial straits," board member Marva Herndon said. "I would suggest that the administration come up with an alternative.”

But there is support within MPS as some hope to help eliminate tardiness and create more work stability for bus drivers.

“First of all the vast savings to the district alone allows funding to be placed elsewhere, reallocated which may improve academic offerings," principal Kristin Hinds said.

“I’m so glad we care about bus drivers, but why aren’t you caring about the parents, MPS staff, and kids?” Kosmach, a MPS teacher, asked.

High school students also spoke up.

“We have responsibilities, ending after 4 is not a really good idea for us," student Skip Austin explained.

“Our eyes are totally open and we just want to do what’s right for all of Milwaukee children," Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley said during the meeting. "And we have to come back and talk about where we are financially.”

To view the new busing proposals, click here.

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