Because of cuts in state funding, the Orange Unified School District is considering raising its bus fees over the next two years.
The district, which experienced a strike recently in a contract dispute with bus drivers and other non-teaching employees, is proposing to raise fees from $180 to $250 in 1994-95 for the first child bused to school from each household. Busing a second child next year would cost $200, compared to $180 this year. Under current proposals, fees would again rise in 1995-96, to $275 for the first child and $225 for the second child.
About 7,000 students rely on bus transportation to get to the district's 37 schools.
The fee increases would raise an additional $105,000 for the district each year, and officials say that would help offset a $900,000 gap between state reimbursement and the actual cost of transporting students to school by bus.
A transportation survey will soon go out to parents. Among other things, the questionnaire will ask parents how students currently get to school, if parents would consider car-pooling students and what amount parents could pay to bus their children.
"My first reaction when I heard about a proposed increase was 'Here is another tax for the parents,' and I don't find that to be a good option," said school board member Rick Ledesma. "I want to see what else we can do."
The Board of Trustees instructed the staff to present a report on the survey's findings in about a month. The board will probably vote on bus transportation fee increases in June.