Families scramble on day one of school bus cutbacks - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Families scramble on day one of school bus cutbacks

Rep. Heather Giugni Rep. Heather Giugni
Hermelyn Patao Hermelyn Patao
Wayne Yoshioka Wayne Yoshioka

AIEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - On the first day of the new school year, about 2,000 students had to find new ways to get to class. With school bus cutbacks due to a budget crunch, families had to shuffle their schedules. More cars lined up curbside at Webling Elementary in Aiea.

"What we've seen that has happened on the first day of school is that grandparents are now stepping up to pick up the children, but really, it's the first day of school. The impact hasn't been felt yet," said Rep. Heather Giugni (D-Aiea, Halawa).

Hermelyn Patao's son used to ride the school bus. The Aiea mother said it's too dangerous for him to walk home, but she ended up arriving late to pick him up.

"There's a lot of kids around this area and there's a lot of parents that work and can't pick up their kids exactly at 2:10 or what not," Patao said.

Webling Elementary is one of about 50 campuses statewide that lost bus service due to a $17 million Department of Education shortfall.

The city boosted a few of its bus routes near schools in Ewa Beach and Pearl City to accommodate extra riders.

"We're not quite sure of the extent that is gonna use this so that's the reason why our guys are out right now monitoring and seeing what the appropriate level of service should be," said Wayne Yoshioka, director of the Department of Transportation Services.

The city is using its savings from the lower than expected price of diesel to fund the extra service.

"We're not sure how long we can sustain this, and it depends really on how fuel fluctuates, but while we can, we're going to try to offer this help until DOE has a chance to put a more permanent solution in place," Yoshioka said.

"The fact is funds have been cut, and there has to be a way to get around it. Children cannot walk in unsafe areas," said Giugni.

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