Hoover Mayor downplays impact of bus service cuts on city - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Hoover Mayor downplays impact of bus service cuts on city

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Parents and community members packed a public form on impending bus service cuts. Source: WBRC Parents and community members packed a public form on impending bus service cuts. Source: WBRC
HOOVER, AL (WBRC) -

Hoover parents continue to pressure the school board to restore bus service a local realtor now claims the decision is affecting home sales.

The Hoover City Schools Board of Education voted to end bus service last month because of financial problems. They say terminating bus service would save the school system about $2.5 million. Robin Schultz, a Hoover parent and creator of BluffParkAl.org said the top priority is to overturn the vote.

"The very first thing that needs to do is reverse their decision. The superintendent should make the recommendation to stop the bus service should be reversed," Schultz said.

Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey said ever since the school board voted to end bus service in 2014 he has been hearing from both sides.

"We've heard it both ways. There are about as many people who think it's a good thing as a bad thing," Ivey said.

The city of Hoover had to cut back its sale taxes contribution to Hoover City Schools because of financial troubles. The mayor said if the city resumed its 16 percent contribution it would lead to major cuts in the city.

"Some of our services would suffer. Response time what have you. You got to keep in mind have a police department, a fire department, libraries and senior center," Ivey said.

Ivey said he has been in constant contract with the Superintendent Andy Craig and the school board.

"We are going to do what we can to help the schools right now the school system has not asked for any money. There has been talk about giving more money but that has come from citizens," Iveysaid.

Schultz said the school board needs to look at its own budget first to see if the money can be found and then look to the city. In the meantime, Schultz is worried Hoover may end up losing bus drivers.

"They are starting to look for jobs before next school year. As soon as the year is out we may not have any drivers left," Schultz said.

Supporters also point the possible impact on home sales. Thursday night Hoover realtor and parent Chip Watts told a crowd at Spain Park High School his association had lost 10 home sales ever since the announcement to terminate bus service.

Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey downplays the possible impact on city taxes.

"I don't think buses are a plus. We got one of the top school systems in the state of Alabama we are very proud of. It's a huge priority for myself. For the council," Ivey said.

The mayor also said Homewood, Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook do not have school bus service and it has had no impact on property sales. But other Hoover parents who support bus service disagree.

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