Photo by Jessa Pease.
Hoover Board of Education Building
The Hoover Board of Education, in a unanimous 5-0 vote during its Aug. 3 board meeting, rescinded an April 2014 proposal that would have charged students a fee for riding buses to and from schools.
Hoover City Schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy made the recommendation, telling the board that fee-based transportation program, which would have charged students up to $40.75 a month to ride the buses, placed an unfair burden on families who send their kids to public schools in Hoover.
The bus fee was never implemented, as it required approval from a federal judge overseeing a longstanding desegregation case involving Hoover City Schools.
After the unanimous vote to rescind the school bus fee, Murphy and board members received thunderous applause many in the packed boardroom. Several in attendance were parents, some who had yard signs saying “Save the Hoover Buses.”
In an interview after the meeting, Murphy said her decision to seek removal of the bus fee wasn’t driven by a desire to appease the U.S. Department of Justice.
“My recommendation to the board was purely from the get-go from my philosophy. I have a huge disconnect in my mind between ‘free public education but I’m going to charge you to get on the bus to get to and from school,’” Dr. Murphy said. “No disrespect to any research or any conversation that preceded me. All I can do is base my decisions on my philosophy and what I feel is right for children and right for parents.”
Murphy said the bus fee would have generated $2 million a year for Hoover City Schools, but she feels there are a number of other places they can look to cut costs and make up savings that would have come from the bus proposal.
“I’m going to take a very close look at our current budget of the entire school system and look for the most savvy ways to be good stewards of our system’s money and try to minimize any impact on our parents and their children,” Murphy said.