Bridgeport superintendent: Plan can restore city school bus routes

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Bridgeport's interim school superintendent says he and the city have a plan to restore school bus routes so kids do not have to walk long distances. 

Interim school superintendent Mike Testani says parents don't have to worry about a notice they got in the mail notifying them many students will have to walk to school because the district doesn't have the money to provide busing.

Officials say the school board recently extended walking distances as part of plan to save money.

Testani says he is working in conjunction with Mayor Joe Ganim and the Bridgeport City Council and that he has come up with a plan to restore the original bus routes.

"This would have affected 1,200 families, 1,200 students. And because of the leadership of the superintendent, with support of the president of the board, the City Council and myself in partnership, they're going to be restored. Working expeditiously to get it done by the first day of school," said Ganim.

Ganim and Testani say the bus company has agreed to reduce costs by $200,000, while the city and Board of Education will come up with another $1.2 million.

But school board member Maria Pereira, who's a vocal critic of the administration, says the move is a transparent bid to score points right in the middle of a political season.

"This is purely political, 27 days before the Democratic primary," said Pereira.

But Ganim and Testani say the only timetable they're concerned with is the start of the school year -- and what the restoration of bus routes will mean for student safety.

Officials say extending walking distances would have saved $1.4 million and the city is now committed to absorbing the entire cost of reversing that decision.

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