Brainerd students who live less than one mile from school will have to walk or get a lift from their parents next year, the Brainerd School Board Finance Committee recommended for board approval Thursday.
A previous recommendation from school administrators was for a two-mile limit in which bus transportation wouldn't be provided for students, part of the $5.5 million in budget cuts.
However, a few board members said they thought going to that two-mile limit was too much of a change and worried about the safety of students.
The one-mile walk would save the district $180,000. If the district went to the two-mile limit, it would mean an estimated $300,000 cost savings.
A larger than usual crowd gathered Thursday to watch the Brainerd School Board Finance Committee meeting.
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Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
"I agree with the one mile," said board member Ruth Nelson. "I think going from giving everyone a ride to two miles is a huge change and there is a cost savings at one mile."
Nelson said she believed the one-mile option rather than the two-mile option may improve attendance during the cold weather and as a result will help student achievement.
The savings in transportation costs represents eliminating five school bus routes next fall, eliminating school-of-choice options for elementary students, busing students to their attendance area only and extending the walking distance to one mile from school.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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