OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) will no longer offer bus service for elementary general-education students after the district's board of education voted to eliminate it this week as part of its efforts to balance the budget before the June 30 deadline mandated by the state.

Transportation for special-education students will still be available at no charge, according to a statement on the district's Website. Middle and high school students residing on nearby Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton will still have the option to participate in fee-for-service transportation.

The elimination of general education elementary bus service will impact about 1,500 students district-wide. The district's operating budget of about $152 million for the 2010-11 school year represents a reduction of nearly $20 million from the previous year.

OUSD was one of the last districts in the area to offer busing, the North County Times reports. Busing had not been offered for middle or high school students in the district for several years. Last year, the district began fee-for-service transportation, charging $360 a year per student. However, less than half the expected revenues from the program came in, largely due to the high number of students from low-income families qualifying for free transportation.

OUSD Transportation Director Glenn Perry posted a message on the district's transportation page, saying, "Our dedicated staff of transportation professionals, including drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, instructors and administrative support personnel will continue to make the Oceanside Unified School District Transportation Department one of the safest public school transportation departments in the state."

The adoption of the new budget this week will also result in previously approved cuts, such as layoffs, increased class sizes and a shorter school year, according to the North County Times.


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