Wake restores after-school buses

Decision made after outcry

STAFF WRITERAugust 31, 2010 

— They voted against it in the summer, but they voted for it Monday.

The difference: The traditional calendar school year started last week, and many parents were in an uproar over suddenly learning that the after school activity buses were no more.

Their ears burning, Wake County school board members reversed course and voted to restore money cut from the budget for the vehicles, which provide rides to students who stay after class for sports, tutoring, extracurricular activities and other purposes.

"I'll take responsibility for the rest of board," Chairman Ron Margiotta said. "We messed up by not realizing that these activity buses were going to be removed."

With only a five-member quorum in attendance, the board conducted its shortest meeting in recent memory, about 30 minutes.

The lone item on the agenda was unanimously approved, with frequent rivals such as Republican Chris Malone and Democrat Keith Sutton voting alike.

"I do remember having it in the budget," Sutton said. "It was the purpose for which they were used that I was unsure about."

David Neter, chief business officer for the system, presented a financial plan under which the after-school buses could be restored.

A primary source of money will be the nearly $28 million that the county is to receive in a federal education jobs grant aimed at preserving teachers' jobs. It will cost $185,000 to pay drivers more to operate the after-school routes, Neter said.

thomas.goldsmith@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8929

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