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      School-choice controversy over public transportation

      Transportation could be the difference whether kids that now go to charter and private schools could have to start going to traditional public schools.

      It all comes down to money.

      Fewer dollars mean fewer routes for busses and that means families could soon have fewer choices in education.

      Public transportation takes 3,500 students to school in Genesee County.

      That service is in jeopardy with fewer dollars from property taxes.

      Last year's Flint MTA budget was $26-million. This year it's $23-million, forcing it to consider cutting routes that pick kids up from their homes.

      "We can't spend money we don't have," says Flint MTA General Manager Bob Foy. He says cutting home pick-up for students is harsh but necessary to continue service.

      "That doesn't mean we're in favor of it. I doesn't mean we support it. The fact is, if it has to be, then that will have the least negative affect upon the public as a whole."

      However, that affect would force students, some as young as 6-years-old, to walk several blocks to a main bus stop.

      "Frankly, that's not feasible for little people. Safety, not only in terms of the kid getting there, but the weather is wet, the weather is cold, some are not dressed adequately," says Art Wenzlaff, director of the International Academy of Flint.

      Many parents send their kids to the International Academy of Fling because students can receive college credit. It received both state and national awards. It requires students to be college-accepted to graduate and tests students every day.

      The cut would come a week and half before Count Day. If students can't make it to their school, it doesn't get the state money.

      "That will hurt charter schools substantially, substantially," says Wenzlaff.

      There have been seven public hearings to collect responses from the public.

      The final meeting completed Wednesday night.

      It's up to the transportation board to decide whether to cut the service.