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School Board votes to stop Regina busing

BY REGINA ZILBERMINTS | DECEMBER 11, 2009 7:30 AM

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The scraping of chair legs and rustling of coats filled the room as parents sprung to their feet Thursday evening.

They weren’t happy.

The Iowa City School Board had just voted to cut off busing to students at Regina Catholic Education Center for the 2010-11 school year.

Regina parents and administrators pleaded with the board to take time to consider other options during the hourlong discussion. But School Board members, contending with the same 10 percent across-the-board budget cut as other agencies in the state face, declined to defer the issue.

They approved the resolution to cut the busing on a 6-1 vote. The move is expected to save the district $260,000 per year.

“There’s no good decision here,” said board member Mike Cooper. Other members stressed they felt they had no other option given the budget crisis.

But Regina parents and officials insisted there are other avenues the board hadn’t considered yet.
Dozens of parents sat listening as two other parents and several Regina officials spoke. The most frequent suggestion made Thursday evening was to consider putting Regina and Iowa City Public School District students on the same buses.

“There’s no reason to have two buses traveling down the same street, economically or ecologically,” said Regina High Principal David Krummel.

Parents and officials both expressed concern about half-empty buses wasting the district’s money.

But state regulations, including a cap on how long children may stay on buses, limit the district’s options.

Still, Regina officials insisted their views hadn’t been taken into account and their questions hadn’t been answered.

According to Iowa law, school districts must provide transportation or reimbursement for private schools in the area. The Iowa City Public School District has provided busing for Regina for several decades.

Regina Center President Carol Trueg said she requested information never provided and asked for a delay until all the facts have been explored.

Krummel said he wanted to erase the misconception that Regina officials hadn’t cooperated. Regina had never requested segregating Regina students from public-school students in busing, he said.

After tonight’s vote, district officials must decide which of two revenue-neutral options to pursue: reimbursing families with state funds to cover their transportation costs or sending Regina some of its state transportation money allowing the school to arrange its own busing.


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