Pali High Transportation Struggles Continue

By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter

A fundraising effort known as “Leaving No Student Behind” has been started for students that cannot afford transportation costs to Palisades Charter High School and has raised over $13,000.

“Many students are struggling to get to school each day as transportation expenses have become beyond their reach,” according to the fundraising website. “We have many students who are in danger of not being able to complete their high school career at PCHS because they are unable to afford the transportation cost.”

That cost, currently at $215 per month, has resulted in a sharp decrease in the number of student passengers, leaving the school on the hook for close to $750,000.

In hopes of finding a solution, transportation officials at the school rearranged the bus schedules with new stop times and locations. But with only a few days notice, parents and students have responded in outrage as some did not see the notice in time.

Several students and teachers, reading statements on behalf of their students, voiced their concerns at the Pali High Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 25, urging trustees to keep in mind the well being of students not local to the Palisades.

“The fact that they sent an email out two days before the actual change was so irresponsible. Some kids missed school on Monday because they weren’t notified,” said Tami Christopher, director of admissions and attendance, who read a statement on behalf of student Bailey Ball.

Pali High has recently been aiming its efforts at closing the achievement gap between traveling and local students, but the increasing bus fees and reduced funds for travel scholarships have been pushing the gap in the opposite direction.

“We find that we can’t meet the goals that we set at the board retreat without first addressing the issue of transportation,” said Saba Johnson, the ASB commissioner of student involvement.

“We can’t have such intense focus on closing the achievement gap between white students and students of color when the students we are trying to help are getting home late in the evening, don’t have time to do homework and are inherently being put at a disadvantage compared to their more privileged counterparts who can just walk home right after school.”

Further transportation updates are expected to be announced at future board meetings.