A North County community is reaching out to help save school bus service for students. The Poway Unified School District may have to pull the plug on its bussing program if not enough students register for passes.
It looked like a leisurely breakfast at Cafe Merlot at the Bernardo Winery on Thursday morning, but behind the good food is a serious mission.
They're raising money to help save the bus program. The district is short $750,000 for bus transportation. Parents are being asked to pay $575 this year for a pass and for some families that's too much. The money raised here will help offset the cost for some.
Cafe Merlot co-owner Rick Kraft is also a bus driver.
"This is our way of at least trying to give back to the community and helping a great cause," Kraft said.
To keep the bus service, 2,800 students must have signed up for a pass. They're close but haven't met the goal.
Melinda Turnwall is worried the most vulnerable students will suffer.
"There's no other way to get these kids to school and we're afraid they're going to miss out on an education," said the Poway school bus driver.
The executive chef at Cafe Merlot has two kids who ride the bus. He says it would be a hardship without it.
“It would be extremely inconvenient because there's times when me and my wife, both our schedules, we're working crazy hours," said Daniel Reynolds.
The superintendent plans to appeal to the board of education early next week -- hoping to extend the deadline.
"Right now we need people to sign up. We need people who are waiting to see if this is going to happen to make it happen by signing up," said superintendent John Collins.
The Poway school board will meet Friday but they will not make a final ruling on the fate of the bus program. The Superintendent says they expect to have a more definitive outlook by mid-next week.