As New School Year Starts, Busing Restrictions Leave HHS Families in the Dust


Kaite Buelt

HHS students walk home after school in great numbers.

Katie Buelt, Features Editor

It’s part of the quintessential school routine: watching the bright yellow bus emerge on the horizon in the early morning, greeting neighbors and chatting up peers as you take your seat, looking out the window as you approach the school. However, many students at Hillsborough High School no longer have the opportunity to take part in this experience which many students tend to take for granted. As of the 2019-2020 school year, any students who live within two and a half miles of the high school will no longer be provided with a bus. The former restriction of one mile was increased due to budget cuts after a recent referendum failed to pass. 

This change poses a major inconvenience to parents and students alike. It is true that many students have parents who are able to drive them to HHS daily. While this may seem like a positive solution on the surface, countless parents must now rework their schedules in order to transport their children. Others are not so fortunate; simply stand along Auten Road when classes are let out, and you will see hoards of students walking home, no matter the weather.

The new busing restrictions have caused headaches for the administration as well, which has also been forced to modify certain policies in order to control morning and afternoon traffic. In addition to the lottery system used to determine which senior students will be given parking privileges, a second lottery was put in place specifically for students who lost their buses. Maps and instructions were sent out to parents prior to the start of the school year in preparations for the anticipated volume of children being dropped off each morning. 

There is an alternative to parent drop-off or walking, but it comes at a steep price—1,000 dollars per student, to be exact. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts have left some parents with little choice but to pay this hefty fee. 

It is common for adults with children to search for homes in a prime location within a close distance of schools and other activities; now, these adults in Hillsborough must grapple for the best solution now that their children cannot rely on courtesy busing. One could argue that the policy change was necessary for budgetary reasons. However, it is unfair for the Board of Education to burden a small portion of the school district with this economic and scheduling hardship, simply because they arguably live in the wrong place.

As one sophomore, who wishes to remain nameless, put it, “It is inconvenient for my family and I to have to worry about transportation. Busing is something that the school has always offered and that we have taken for granted.” 

Until the Board of Education is able to make major budgetary changes, the classic school morning routine will remain a memory of the past for hundreds of teens.