Possible busing changes again a part of school budget discussions
For the second year in a row, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System is considering a cost-saving proposal that would effectively push back the start of the school day by 20 to 30 minutes for some of the parochial schools that get bus service from the district. Last year, a similar plan was shot down amid vocal opposition from the Diocese of Baton Rouge and some members of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. But School Board officials say providing bus service to the Catholic schools later in the morning would save the district a much-needed $2 million—and it's not the only option on the table. "We have to look at things like routes, we have to look at times and we have to look at maybe having the diocese put up some of the money for the bus service," says EBR School Board President Barbara Freiberg. "It's very important that things don't come to the same conclusion as they did last year." The district is required by state law to provide bus service to private and parochial schools, but Freiberg says the Legislature no longer provides the same level of funding for the service as it has in the past. Diocesan officials and Catholic school principals will meet privately Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Catholic Life Center with representatives from EBR public schools to discuss possible solutions. Freiberg says she is "very positive about working out some sort of agreement." The officials' afternoon meeting will be followed by a 5 p.m. budget workshop at the school system central office, 1050 South Foster Dr., which is open to the public. —Stephanie Riegel
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