SOUTHLAKE, Texas — Students in the Carroll Independent School District (ISD) will soon have to pay $250 to ride the bus.
A district statement said that trustees "reluctantly approved the fee in the face of a projected $5 million deficit for the 2012-2013 school year."
The fee will be for all students except those who receive special-education services. There will be a family cap of $500.
Previously, Carroll ISD only charged bus riders who live within two miles of school. This year, those riders paid $215 for the transportation, which helped generate about $235,000 for the district’s general operating fund.
But district officials said that further efforts were needed to help "close the gap between state funding shortfalls and daily operating expenses."
The new $250 bus fee, which will take effect with the coming school year, is expected to help generate another $456,000 in revenue.
Carroll ISD spends about $1.8 million per year to transport about 2,764 students in all grade levels. The district does not receive any state funding for transportation.
Legislation that was passed in Texas recently allows school districts that don't get transportation funds from the state to charge riders for bus service.
Carroll ISD's new fee won't cover the entire cost of transporting its students, but trustees said they believe that it is a necessary step in reducing the overall funding gap.
In November, the district surveyed parents, employees and taxpayers about various cost-cutting and revenue-generating ideas. Officials said that the survey showed high support for implementing a bus rider fee rather than other suggested cuts.