Deal nears to give parochial students public transportation
By Denise Dick
The city school district is nearing a settlement with parochial school parents whose children weren’t transported to school last year.
“The way the agreement works, the parents have to sign the agreement,” said Randy Rair, assistant superintendent at the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown’s Office of Catholic Schools. “The lawyers just got done with it.”
At a city school board meeting last month, Harry Evans, the district’s operations chief, said the amount likely in the settlement is $100 per student. It will be paid by the district to parents of students whose transportation was not provided by Youngstown schools last year.
Karen Ingraham, school district spokeswoman, said in an email that the settlement isn’t final, and no resolution has been presented to the school board for a vote.
It involves 25 students from St. Rose School in Girard and 15 Cardinal Mooney High School students.
During the 2011-12 school year, the city district deemed it impractical to transport those students, and the school board authorized payment in lieu of transportation.
This school year, Rair said the city district is transporting the St. Rose students. But the school system is giving Western Reserve Transit Authority passes to those at Mooney.
“St. Rose is very satisfied,” Rair said. “At Mooney, some of the parents are choosing to use them, and some are not.”
At the end of last school year, the diocese and many Austintown parents opposed a plan that would have called for WRTA passes distributed to Austintown students who attended St. Christine School, Ursuline High School and the Mollie Kessler School.
That plan ultimately was scrapped. The Austintown school district is transporting these students.
But Rair said in the city, WRTA bus stops are closer to students’ homes.
“In Austintown, sometimes they had a 3- and 4-mile walk to the WRTA bus stop,” he said.
The city students don’t have as long of a ride and it involves older students.
“It’s not an apples-to- apples comparison,” Rair said.