The state budget crisis has led to increased tensions in an East County community, where residents are arguing over whether students are legally attending school in the United States.
Not enough money to pay for bus transportation means not enough room on the bus for everyone. The first-come, first-served policy of the Jamul-Dulzura Union School District has those "left out" parents pointing fingers, accusing others of trying to beat the system.
At 7 a.m. on Tuesday, parents, some in vehicles -- could be seen dropping off their children at the bus stop at Barratt Lakes.
"There's a lot of people who come from Mexico," said one parent. "They don't live here and they have transportation."
Some parents complained that many of the students who have a seat on the bus are living across the border in Mexico and are "working" the system to get proof of residency.
"They let them borrow the address, paying the phone bill or electric bill," said another parent. "They're not paying rent."
Parents at the bus stop of children who others accused of living in Mexico said they live in a nearby trailer park. The manager of the park vouched for the parents, saying she would not give them proof of residency if they did not live here.
"How can you make up an SDG&E bill?" The manager said. "How can you get SDG&E if you don't have anything here really?"
The superintendent said that the district follows policy to make sure all students have the proper verification of residency and that the district's due diligence sometimes includes physical visits.
Bennett said that going from five buses to two -- due to budget cuts --- is frustrating for parents who did not apply early enough and now have to wait for a seat on the bus.
"We'e been meeting with the public to help them understand that there are fewer resources, and we have a short waiting list, but, unfortunately, it has a big impact on people who don't have transportation," Bennett said.
According to state guidelines, students attending the Jamul Dulzura Union School District must show proof of residency of at least two months. Those guidelines are stricter for Dulzura Jamul than other districts because it is located so close to the U.S.-Mexico border.