School district's transportation plan leaves mother flabbergasted

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — The mother of a 5- and 7-year-old said she’s flabbergasted after learning how the Northgate School District expects her children to get to their charter school.

"I am completely willing to compromise,” Fauna Shaffer Butera told Channel 11 News Wednesday.

Butera might be willing to compromise, but it's not getting her anywhere.

Northgate School District offered her 7-year-old Adrian and 5-year-old Julian Port Authority bus passes when they decided to attend Young Scholars Charter School in Baldwin this fall.%



"And I said, ‘You have to agree that's not appropriate for a 5- and a 7-year-old to go on public transportation,’” Butera said.

Her children would have to walk over a block in Avalon to get the PAT bus on California Avenue at 6:30 a.m. and take it to downtown Pittsburgh, where they would cross a busy intersection to the Wood Street T Station and get on the T.

Once the children get off at the Killarney Station, they first have to cross the T tracks and then navigate on a foot path through a tunnel, which cars come through one at a time because it's so narrow.

After the tunnel, the children have to walk nearly a mile up a hill in a neighborhood with no sidewalks until they reach Young Scholars Charter School at the top.

"I don't think that any parent would allow their child to do that,” Butera said.

Pennsylvania law requires school districts to transport students to charter schools if they are within 10 miles of the school district boundary. However, the law does not specify what kind of transportation the district must provide or what is appropriate.

At this point, Butera can drive her children to school every day, or she can get an attorney and fight the district.

"I mean, I am personally going to devote myself to lobbying to have the language changed so that some sort of safe transportation has to be provided and that's it,” Butera said.

The North Hills School District is currently busing a few of its students to Young Scholars Charter School, and Butera asked if they could pick up her children. District officials said they’re reviewing her request.