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Single mom loses busing

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - After only ten years, the state is ending the No Child Left Behind program. Parents will still have the option to place students in higher schools, but they are left on their own to find transportation.

     Some schools in Hamilton County are about to look a lot different. and parents have some tough decisions to make.  The Federal Government is letting Tennessee opt out of "No Child Left Behind" requirements. That means the school system does not have to bus students to higher performing schools.

  Michelle Kendricks is a single mom. Her son is zoned for Dalewood Middle School, about two miles from her house. Because that school failed to meet standards, a school bus will carry her son about twenty miles to the higher-performing Loftis Middle School. Ms. Kendrick's says, "It's a lot going on with our kids and they need the best education. I know it needs to stay and they hold the kids more accountable for their education and I want that for him."

     With the green light from Washington, Hamilton County School Board Members decided to phase the bus program to save over $800,000 per year. Assistant Superintendent Lee McDade says that won't happen immediately. He explains, "They will have transportation for their schools they already are attending till they graduate out of their school they are in."

     Ms. Kendricks' son gets to finish Loftis, but will not get a bus ride to the higher-performing high school he wants to attend. He either catches the bus to his nearby zoned school or applies for a hardship and find his own ride twenty minutes away.

     Mr. McDade suggests this may be the time for parents to consider sticking with those neighborhood schools, which should improve. He says, "The school system has gotten an eyes on grants. We are working with high priority schools to get them up to par. That's a major focus for our people and curriculum."

If parents are interested in applying for a hardship to  change their child's school, they can contact the Hamilton County Board of Education at (423) 209-8400.

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