School bus policy leaves some Pittsburgh Public School students stranded on first day

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PITTSBURGH - Thursday was the first day back to school for the Pittsburgh Public School system and many students found themselves waiting for a bus that never came.

At least 50 students found out on their first day that they no longer had bus service.

"I came up here at 7:40 this morning and the crossing guard came to me and said, 'You didn't get the news? They stopped the school bus for the kids.' I was blown away, so mad. I thought he was going to miss the first day of school," said mother Leia Lamonde.

Channel 11 News went to the bus stop on the corner of Woodland Avenue and Shadeland Street in Brighton Heights where angry parents were on the phone with transportation officials.

According to school officials, the stop is no longer on the bus route.

"I called the transportation company and they told me if it's a mile and a half of walking distance, they are considered walkers," said one parent.

Channel 11's Cara Sapida reported that the policy is district wide.  According to the policy, kindergarten through eighth grade students are only eligible for bus transportation if they live more than 1.5 miles from the school. For high school students, it's two miles.

Parents said it's not the policy but the lack of communication they're upset about.

"Last year there were three buses and 50 kids on the roster at this stop that were supposed to get the bus that weren't notified appropriately or professionally," said parent Michelle Barker.  

"I'm a single parent with two kids. I don't have a car. To find out this morning there was no bus, I was upset about it," said Lamonde.

School officials said they only notify parents and students of what their new bus routes are going to be. In this case there was no new route, so parents weren't notified. Officials said the cuts are necessary and they apologize for the inconvienence.