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Partnership to Provide Free Bus Fare
Linda Mah
/ Categories: Communications

Partnership to Provide Free Bus Fare

Program for KPS High Schoolers Starts Fall 2019

Kalamazoo Public Schools high schoolers will find that their school IDs can open new doors for them starting next fall when their school-issued IDs will provide free transportation on Kalamazoo Metro Transit buses.

The new fare plan will launch during the 2019-2020 school year. It allows high school students to ride city buses for free.

It will not replace school transportation to and from school, but it will provide older students with access to transportation for activities such as employment, sports, and other extracurricular activities, said Ken Greshack, KPS board vice president.

KPS Board President Patti Sholler-Barber praised the plan saying that it will remove barriers for students and allow them to lead more full and fulfilling lives.

“The more barriers we take away… the more we’re enlarging their world and making their world more predictable and secure,” she said.

The free bus fare plan was approved at the Jan. 24 school board meeting. The program will be paid for by a new Kalamazoo Youth Mobility Fund, which is being funded through the Foundation for Excellence, said Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. The plan for the Youth Mobility Fund was developed through a partnership between KPS, the city of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Metro Transit and the Kalamazoo Public Library.

Trustee Jermaine Jackson recalled as a student having to walk home after school activities. “Certainly, students in that position will greatly appreciate this partnership.”

The Foundation for Excellence was created by private donors to address systemic challenges facing the city of Kalamazoo. The foundation is providing $70.3 million to stabilize the city’s budget, lower its property tax rate and provide $10 million for aspirational community projects. A community fundraising effort is underway to fully endow the foundation.

This is the second KPS school ID enhancement announced in recent months.

In August, the schools and Kalamazoo Public Library announced that all KPS students would be able to begin using their school IDs as fully functioning library cards, which provides students to books, databases, and other library resources.

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