Oakland Unified in talks with AC Transit about student bus service

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Oakland Unified School District officials say AC Transit service to three schools may end since they can no longer afford it after losing funding from state. (KGO-TV)

AC Transit and the Oakland Unified School District have been in negotiations to resolve an ongoing issue regarding transporting students from three schools in the Oakland Hills. While AC Transit has promised to continue bus service through the close of the school year, nobody knows what's going to happen next year.

Students at Skyline High School in the Oakland Hills lined up to get on several AC Transit lines, unique to them. In fact, a total of 56 buses are provided exclusively to Skyline, Montera Middle School and Community Day High School thanks to an agreement between the school district and AC Transit.

That was, until the Oakland Unified School District said it could no longer pay after losing funding from the state. "It is an agreement that had to be changed because of the way the state funded our home-to school transportation dollars. That money is no longer there," OUSD spokesperson John Sasaki said.

AC Transit was surprised to learn the district was bailing out after the Oakland Unified School District lost $2.25 million to subsidize student bus fares.

Still, the transit agency promised to continue service until the end of the academic year while trying to determine if it's even financially possible to absorb the costs of transporting these students. "That would be for our planners to decide. There have been discussions about what efficiencies can be reached," AC Transit spokesperson Robert Lyles said.

AC Transit says other school districts operate along traditional routes and have adjusted their in-and-out times to fit the bus schedule. "So doing some very careful calculations on bus schedules, things like that, we'll be able to save quite a bit of money. The question is how do we close the rest of the gap," Lyles said.

Joseph Muscadini said he may have to transfer to another school. "If we lose the buses, I'll have no other way to come up to school," he said.

Both sides promise to provide update to families as needed.

Related Topics:
educationbusac transittransportationstudentsOaklandOakland Hills
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