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SIMMONDS DEFENDS POSITION ON SCHOOL BUS FEES

Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds said Friday that while the fees to be charged next year for school bus transportation may be hard for some families, without the fees there might not be bus service at all.
Earlier this week Simmonds announced that elementary school students would have to pay $5 a week and secondary students, $10 a week for school bus service in the coming school year, with certain discounts for families with more than one child riding the buses.
The move was legal, Simmonds said Friday. "We are allowed by law to have students pay for bus service and for school lunch," she said.
However, she said, she has no plans to start charging students for the school lunches.
Responding to Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen's threat to bring a class-action lawsuit against the administration if the order isn't rescinded, Simmonds said, "Any person has the right to take anyone in the community to court." But she added that Hansen, as a legislator, has a responsibility to appropriate funds for education.
"If the money isn't there," the commissioner said, she will have to do whatever is necessary to cover expenses.
"I've had a few parents say it's going to be hard," Simmonds said. But others, she added, have supported the move and have urged her not to "back down."

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Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds said Friday that while the fees to be charged next year for school bus transportation may be hard for some families, without the fees there might not be bus service at all.
Earlier this week Simmonds announced that elementary school students would have to pay $5 a week and secondary students, $10 a week for school bus service in the coming school year, with certain discounts for families with more than one child riding the buses.
The move was legal, Simmonds said Friday. "We are allowed by law to have students pay for bus service and for school lunch," she said.
However, she said, she has no plans to start charging students for the school lunches.
Responding to Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen's threat to bring a class-action lawsuit against the administration if the order isn't rescinded, Simmonds said, "Any person has the right to take anyone in the community to court." But she added that Hansen, as a legislator, has a responsibility to appropriate funds for education.
"If the money isn't there," the commissioner said, she will have to do whatever is necessary to cover expenses.
"I've had a few parents say it's going to be hard," Simmonds said. But others, she added, have supported the move and have urged her not to "back down."