MORRISON – Superintendent Suellen Girard responded Wednesday about why the Morrison School District is not picking up as many students on its buses.
“When parents live closer to town and they see a bus drive by, they say, ‘Why can’t my child get on that bus?'” Girard says.
Those students may not be able to get on the bus because they live too close to the school. Because the school is facing financial problems, it has cut bus service to some of its patrons.
“If I could pick the kids up and not add anything to my transportation claim…I’d be more than happy to pick them up,” Girard said.
If a child lives within a mile and a half of its school, Illinois school districts are not required to service them. In fact, Morrison Schools actually loses funding from the state if it picks up kids it’s not supposed to. Girard said the district used to do that. Because of the tighter budget though, it’s decided to stop.
“We can’t afford to take the education away from our children to pay for non-required transportation,” Girard said.
Nonetheless, some parents in town are upset. They think Girard should still be able to service the kids close to the schools. They think it’s a bit weird that the district picks up kids that are farther away.
“Many people in the Morrison community are starting to ask questions about the superintendent and some of her decisions,” Paul Wakeman wrote to News Eight on Tuesday.
Girard came out with a newsletter the first day of school addressing the situation. She blames Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on cutting transportation to local schools instead of other programs.
“There are no good cuts. There just aren’t,” Girard said. “Do we want to have large class sizes? Do we want to cut programs? Do we want to cut extracurricular activities? What is it? There aren’t any.”
Morrison Schools faces a $1 million deficit going into this school year. Because of that, the district plans on having even more budget cuts next year. School board and committee meetings will decide which programs get cut funding.