School Funding Cuts in Southern Humboldt
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts to schools in Southern Humboldt… it’s a devastating blow to the district that means no more busses. It’s a big deal for the students who won’t be able to get to school… for the parents that will have to give up their time.. and for the people who are losing their jobs.
"To lose one third of our student body to this is not an unrealistic number." – Cinnamon Paula, Parent.
"That bus stop changes in any way shape or form and we can not send both kids to school." – Erin Larsen, Parent.
"I have students on my bus that will not be able to go to school if we don't have busses." – Mary Hays, Bus Driver
"On the 17th of Febuary the school busses will stop running.” – Robin Craig, Bus Driver
For parents and drivers within the Southern Humboldt Unified School District, the reality is sinking in. A district that enrolls almost 800 students about to lose their busses.
"Ill be forced to retire in about 15 days,” Craig says.
Governor brown has cut $248 million from k-12 schools statewide. Cutting $450,000 from transportation means plain and simply- no more busses in Southern Humboldt.
"People have already started the process of moving to home school because they know they're not going to be able to afford to drive their kids to school,” Paula said Wednesday.
14 employees will be cut from the district… those 14 people make sure 500 kids get to school safe every day.
"Some of the worst roads in Humboldt County are on Bell Springs and Alder Point. And our bus drivers do them every day safer than I can," Larsen said.
When the busses stop running, the superintendent says the district has reserve money of about $250,000 that can keep the transportation running, but at a minimal level.
Estelle Fennel, a candidate for 2nd District Supervisor said Wednesday, "But they've already taken from those reserves and used them for other transportation that's already been cut."
The superintendent says the reserves are only plan “b.” Plan "a" is to drive their fight right to the lawmakers who've made the cuts.
"We need to stand up now and make a difference and be heard," Paula said.
"I’m a firm believer in the public education system and want to see my kids participate," Larsen said.
The count down has started for both drivers and parents to when school as they know it will literally stop mid-route.
Bus Driver Mary Hays says, “It’s a domino effect this is the tipping point however I am concerned that if its gone this year that it will never come back."
Some of the parents have organized a Facebook page to unite concerned citizens. It is called “Bus Stop to Nowhere,” and the parents are organizing a trip to Sacramento on January 24th to protest the cuts.