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No Cuts for Molokai School Bus Services

After a scare in April that bus services to Molokai Intermediate and High schools would be cut, parents and students will be relieved to learn that school bus services on Molokai will not be affected for the upcoming school year, according to the Department of Education (DOE).

The DOE finalized a list last Saturday of 103 bus routes across the state that would be cut due to the $17 million shortage of funds in transportation services. The DOE estimates 2,044 riders will be affected. The majority of those riders –about 1,864 students –are on Oahu, whose public bus transportation system, The Bus, may help to cushion the cuts.

East Hawaii and Molokai will not be affected.

In April of this year, a press release from the DOE was circulated to parents announcing cuts that would be made to existing school bus services routes beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. Services to Molokai Intermediate and High schools were threatened to be cut.

Betty Puaa, manager of Spencer’s Bus Services which services students from Kawela to Kalamaula, assures residents that after a meeting with Maui District Transportation Officer Robert Joseph, she is certain that there will be no changes to any of their school bus routes for the upcoming school year.

“I’m happy the DOE didn’t cancel any of our routes because on Molokai, we only have one high school and one middle school, it’s not like our kids can go elsewhere to school,” said Puaa. Two weeks ago, she traveled to Honolulu to provide testimony in front of the Board of Education as to why school bus services on Molokai are crucial.

“Our concern is it’s easy, relatively speaking, to cover the shortfall this year, but what do we do the following year?” said DOE Assistant Superintendent Randy Moore, as reported by The Civil Beat. The DOE expects a similar shortfall in funds next year, said Moore, who could not be reached by the Dispatch for comment.

The DOE has been developing a plan to offset costs for the future, including the staggering of school start times, giving bus companies the option of leasing buses from the state, and hiring a consultant to look at further route consolidations, said Moore, according to The Civil Beat.


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