Eye on Education

Do All Charter School Students Get Free Bus Rides to School?

Cory Voglesonger / Flickr

This week, the Akron Beacon Journal reports again that many parents send their children to charter schools rather than to the Akron schools because they want their children to be bused to school.

About one-third of Akron school buses are dedicated to transporting students who attend charter schools, the Beacon Journal reports. That left us wondering:

Do all charter school students get free rides to school?

The answer: Not exactly.

The rules are basically the same for both traditional public and charter school students: School districts generally must provide transportation for both traditional public and charter school students in grades K-8 who live more than 2 miles from school.

(There are some exceptions to these rules, notably for students with disabilities.)

The difference is geography. Take a look at the map below.

  • Many charter school students attend schools more than 2 miles away from their homes and thus do qualify for busing. The district does not provide transportation for the relatively few Akron charter school students who attend schools closer to their homes.
  • Most Akron traditional public school students are assigned to schools within 2 miles of their homes, so do not qualify for busing. (Akron does not provide busing for students who transfer to a different district school, even if that school is more than 2 miles away from the students’ homes.)

School districts receive some additional state funding — a total of about $442 million statewide last year — to for student transportation. Charter schools do not receive that funding.

Akron City Schools and Akron Charter Schools

Last year, there were 13 brick-and-mortar charter schools in Akron and 48 district schools. On the map below, district schools are indicated by yellow markers; charter schools are indicated by green markers.


  • GPJ

    This article is misleading, and does not take into account the provision of law that speaks to eligibility – specifically ORC 3327.02. I recognize it is difficult to understand law that is so complex, but if you’re going to publish an article, perhaps you should also mention how the laws for nonpublic and community school transportation are written to the advantage of the parent.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1366866095 Marianne Lombardo

      ORC 3327.02 refers to the District’s ability to declare the transportation impractical (which they often do). This law is applicable to ALL parents, regardless of school type attended. The payment in lieu of transportation is often $200 or less – for the whole year, if the parent can get it at all. There is no advantage to the parent for nonpublic and community school transportation. It is a sad state of affairs when parents have to fight and struggle to get their child to school everyday and transportation becomes politicized and misinformation is provided to the public. We have a FEW districts in Central Ohio that cooperate (Bloom Carroll – we love you!), but many put up tremendous barriers and deny transportation.

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