FREE school bus passes for some pupils could be axed – saving Calderdale Council £62,000 over the next five years.
The authority has announced plans to have another look at who gets free school bus passes.
Currently 177 pupils receive support getting to and from school but some, who travel further to faith schools, or are from wealthy families but who meet the criteria as they go to school more than three miles from their home, still qualify.
A spokesman for Calderdale Council said the authority supplies school bus passes to more families than it is legally required to do so.
The council is following a move made by neighbouring authorities, including Kirklees and Bradford.
Clr Ashley Evans, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, explained: “Neighbouring local authorities have tackled this difficult problem by withdrawing school bus passes they are not required to provide by law and we are going to have to look at this option too.”
A report, to be considered by the council’s Cabinet on Monday, shows that some students may only get a free bus pass to the nearest school rather than within the current Calderdale authority area.
That measure would save the council £39,180 over the next five years.
But if they decide to axe the free bus passes for all except the most needy they could save around £62,500 over the next five years.
The council says that under current legislation it has a legal responsibility to provide free home-to-school transport for children under the age of eight who live two miles or more from school and children over eight who live three miles or more from school.
Children with disabilities, special educational needs and children living in low income families also qualify.
However, the authority currently provides transport for children from all families affected by those criteria – regardless of family income.
The law also says that free home-school transport should be provided to children from low income families attending their nearest denominational school, based on religious belief.
Under the proposals to Cabinet, free home-to-school transport to denominational schools would be removed for all but the most needy families.
Further savings could be made if it is agreed to remove free bus passes for pupils attending Calderdale schools when there is a nearer suitable school outside the area.
The earliest changes can be implemented is 2014/15, taking into account time required to undertake public consultation, along with Cabinet and full Council approval prior to implementing changes.
Would you be affected by the changes? If so contact the Examiner newsdesk on 01484 437712.