Last year Waco Transit gave about 18,000 bus rides to Waco ISD students as part of the district’s Student Ride Services program. It was part of a larger effort to improve attendance across the district. But school officials say they're disbanding the effort.
David Ellis, the supervisor of attendance at Waco ISD, says there wasn’t enough evidence that showed the free ride program actually improved attendance. The school district gave the city about $5,000 to offset the cost of student riders. However, Waco Transit was asking for $15,000 to continue the program. Ellis says the district couldn't afford that, but still some sort of ride service will be necessary.
"Kids that are involved in extracurricular activities after school athletics, choir, band, something that happens after school they can’t ride the regular bus. If they don’t have a ride home, then they can’t participate in those activities," Ellis said.
Ellis says the district will still pay for a limited number of monthly bus passes for students to ride the bus to school. He estimates between 50 and 100 students would take advantage of that program.