Sylvania bus routes on chopping block for nonpublic schools

SYLVANIA, Ohio (WTVG) - Sylvania parents who send their kids to St. John's Jesuit, Maumee Valley Country Day and Toledo Christian get to use Sylvania buses for trips to school.

A letter sent to parents last week warned them that could end.

Parents say that decision would be inconvenient, unethical and unsafe.

The district says busing Sylvania kids to other schools on Sylvania buses doesn't make financial sense.

Chris Pharis says Sylvania tried this last year. His son attends Lial Elementary. Sylvania cut bus service there. Last year's cuts impacted three schools on two routes.

"Fast forward now my son will be a freshman at St. John's next year and now I am getting another letter from St. John's indicating Sylvania Schools will be doing the same thing again to me this year," said Pharis.

Last year Sylvania tried and failed to cut bus service to Toledo Christian and Central Catholic. But this year, Toledo Christian is on the chopping block once again.

"We're hoping this year and maybe permanently they will settle this issue and say it's part of who we are in Sylvania we transport our kids to all schools safely and we're going to continue to do that," said Kenneth Mcintyre. He is a Toledo Christian Schools parent.

Sylvania says ridership is down and it's expensive. Sylvania Schools Superintendent Dr. Adam Fineske says he can't justify spending $75,000 a year per route when at most 13 kids are on each bus, and there's a bus driver shortage in the district.

That logic bothers these parents.

"We need everybody in the community to continue to stand up for what's right and what's moral and ethically right for the community members of Sylvania and now that they're attacking other schools, I think we've got more people here talking about it," said Brett Seymour. He's a Central Catholic parent.

"For working families or families that have just one parent I feel that it's so important that they have the option of taking the bus and that we can continue to have choice in the schools that we send them to," said Susan Croy. She is a single mother with two boys at SJJ Academy.

The Ohio School Boards Association says busing a student to a Sylvania school costs $817 per student. But to send students to the three out of district schools runs $5,825.

Parents dispute those numbers.

"To me it just seems like Sylvania Schools is doing something that they know they shouldn't be doing. It's morally wrong. It's ethically not right," said Pharis.

"I think that Dr. Fineske believes he could take the three quarter of a million dollars and spend it better on the students in Sylvania and we just don't agree," said Seymour.

Dr. Adam Fineske, Superintendent Sylvania Schools released this statement Saturday to 13abc:

“These recommendations are never easy, which is why we spend a lot of time researching and collecting input before making them. At the forefront of every recommendation is what’s best for kids, but we as a growing school district also have to remember the importance of fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers.

It is vital that we are transparent in every district decision. At this Monday’s BOE meeting we plan to present the most updated findings and accurate information so that our board can determine the best course of action for Sylvania’s students and taxpayers.”

These cuts are not a done deal. Monday night the board could vote on whether to cut the service. The parents we spoke with say they will be there to voice their opinion.