The bill also would let school officials create even longer bus routes, but only if there’s advance notice to parents and the public. Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen voted no.
“Republicans, you said at the beginning of session that Iowans were going to have to tighten their belts,” Petersen said, “but this bill asks Iowa kindergarteners to tighten their belts and we hope that they don’t pee their pants in the process.”
Senator Amy Sinclair, a Republican from Allerton, said it’s best to let local school boards make the decision about the duration of school bus rides.
“I’m offended that we would sit here in our superiority and suggest that we care more about those children’s needs than their parents or their grandparents or aunts or uncles or neighbors who are the ones serving on those school boards and making those decisions,” Sinclair said.
Under the bill, all students would be allowed to ride the bus for 75 minutes to school and 75 minutes home. Under current law, elementary kids may ride no more than an hour on the way to school and on the way home. Supporters of the bill say putting elementary and high school kids on the same bus might let some schools consolidate routes and save money.
The bill now goes to the House for consideration.