Parents angry over the decision to cut bus routes to help balance a local school district's budget are threatening to remove their children from the classroom, denying the district the funds they receive from the state and federal governments.
"Don't give back the buses, the parents not going to send the students and they're going to lose money," said parent Laura Mansillas.
Mansillas is one of several parents in San Ysidro who are concerned about the distance their children have to walk to get to school.
Sweetwater Union High School District which resumed classes on Monday has cut 20 bus routes at four high schools including San Ysidro High School.
Mansillas and other parents said if the routes aren't reinstated, they will pull their children from their classes. Each absent student could cost the district about $200.
"Holding a student out for whatever reason is really a detriment and actually hurts us even further," said district spokesperson Manny Rubio.
The district has asked for a few weeks to analyze bus use for this school year. They said they could potentially alter routes based on how many students are using them, or remap walking routes to provide students with a safer route to campus.
SUHSD schools returned to class Monday.
The cash-strapped district cut dozens of bus stops for the 2019-2020 school year, forcing more students to walk the sometimes miles-long trek to class.
The stops were eliminated for Eastlake High School, Olympian High School, Otay Ranch High School and San Ysidro High School. Ten more were cut from other schools in the district.
District officials said the cuts were necessary, especially after the completion of a safe sidewalk on Old Otay Mesa Road, which serves as the main path to San Ysidro High.
In all, officials with the Sweetwater Union High School District said budget cuts are needed to climb out of its millions of dollars’ worth of debt.
Earlier this month, officials announced there were not enough working laptops for its students after it did not collect more than $600,000 in fees. The district also decided in recent months to eliminate 82 positions, including bus drivers, custodians and people who help with Special Education.