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Governor's Budget Slashes Bus Rides in Coachella

Jessica Flores

Governor's Budget Slashes Bus Rides in Coachella

CREATED Dec. 15, 2011

THERMAL-- Governor Brown's midyear trigger cuts slash $1.5 million from Coachella Valley's transportation funding, leaving district officials uncertain over how they'll handle thousands of student who rely on the busing program to get to school.

"If we don't have it, then how are we supposed to get to school on time," said Marina Martinez, a high school junior who lives more than four miles from the school.

The Governor's budget trimmed $300 million from California K-12 education, with most of the money coming from transportation funds.

"It really affects us inequitably when you look at the districts who don't have bus transportation and I don't think there was enough forethought upon this decision and the consequences of this decision," said Superintendent Darryl Adams.

With the budget effective this January, the district faces losing up to 20 buses from its 70-bus fleet. About 8,000 students rely on the buses in the district, which is nearly half of the student population.

"In our area their are no traffic lights. This is very dangerous conditions our children would have to walk and they live so far away from their school," said Adams.

Los Angeles Unified has signaled they will sue the state over the slashed transportation funds. Coachella Valley Unified School District hasn't decided if they will follow, but the superintendent says that is something he'll be bring up to the board.

"We would struggle to come to school unless we had a ride, but it would be difficult for everyone to get a ride," said high school student and bus rider Kimberly Cortez.

The district wants the Governor to restore their funding and distribute the cuts evenly throughout all California districts.

"We already have some atrocious housing condition we are dealing with and environmental conditions, now to throw this on top of that. It makes it really difficult for our students and families to get ahead," said Adams.

Jessica Flores, KMIR6 News.