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Mother faces extra €400 cost for school bus

THEY are the ultimate borderline case. Kate Brosnan and her children live within sight of a new boundary for school transport that will mean an extra €400 a year in costs.

The mother of two faces a stark choice this September -- either she forks out for her children's school transport fees or gives up the job she loves.

Under proposed changes to the school transport scheme (STS) she will have to pay the €400 for her son and daughter to travel to Ardfert Central National School in Tralee, Co Kerry, by bus -- a service that was previously free to children attending amalgamated primary schools.

But from September, parents will have to contribute toward their children's school transport costs.

New charges include a €50 surcharge and €200 for each child. And as Ms Brosnan's family home in Banna is marginally inside the newly extended 3.2km radius from the school she will have to pay €400.

"I'm not objecting to paying and I would be willing to pay €100 for each child but I know I can't afford any more," Ms Brosnan told the Irish Independent. "I'm very worried. Without this service I don't know what I'd do but I'd definitely have to give up work."

Ms Brosnan will join other parents and teachers at a protest tonight outside a public meeting in Listowel at which the minister of state with responsibility for school transport, Ciaran Cannon, is due to speak. Parents' groups across the country have warned there will be chaos in September if the proposed changes go ahead.

Irish Independent