PUPILS at faith schools could have their free bus passes axed.
Calderdale Council is looking to save up to £62,000 over the next five years.
A consultation saw a petition of 767 people oppose the plans.
Currently 177 pupils receive support getting to and from school, which includes pupils at faith schools or those travelling more than three miles from their home.
Calderdale councillors will on Monday consider a number of options, from ending transport assistance to church schools for new pupils who do not qualify under ‘low income criteria’ or removing transport support for pupils travelling to schools outside the authority area.
They could also decided to end both schemes.
It could affect pupils travelling to All Saints Catholic College in Huddersfield, the nearest church school for many Calderdale children.
During the consultation concerns were raised about the removal of parental choice and the impact on the cost on family budgets. Others were worried school buses would be taken away and more parents would have to drive their child to school, increasing congestion.
The council’s report shows one parent who fears their child’s transport support will be removed says the council allocated their child a school, they did not choose it, due to nearer schools being over-subscribed.
Another parent says removing support for schools buses means that around 300 Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School children would need to find alternative means on transport.
Another Calderdale parent said their nearest school was in Huddersfield, and questioned why support should be axed on a geographical basis.
The council says that the “proposal is fairer in that everyone should pay” and the report adds: “If the school is parental choice and not the nearest school, parents should pay for transport.”
Under the proposed changes, free home to school transport to faith schools would be removed for all except those that meet the low income criteria within the policy.
Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, Clr Ashley Evans, said: “People will be aware that local authority budgets are under severe pressure and we must seek out ways of cutting costs but minimising their impact on the more vulnerable residents, and maintaining the delivery of our statutory responsibilities. These proposals set out to square this difficult circle.”
The proposals, if agreed, will not come into effect until the 2014/15 school year.