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School buses stop rolling - Detroit
Annual savings: $500,000

The big yellow school bus could soon be an icon of the past in Motor City.

Pounded by the auto industry's collapse and facing a deficit of nearly $300 million, Detroit is so deep in the red that its schools will outsource busing services to private companies to save $49 million over the next five years.

Detroit metro area school district Royal Oaks is looking to trim next year's budget by $5 million and can't afford private contractors. The district already told parents that the yellow buses will not transport students to and from school beginning next fall. The move affects an estimated 17% of the district's students, who use the service regularly, and only saves $500,000 annually. But the district's superintendent, Thomas Moline, says it will help avoid teacher layoffs and class-size increases.

Parents will have to make arrangements to transport their children to and from school, but Moline said they have been accepting since the cut avoids reductions in the classroom.

Getting rid of school buses will also affect more than a third of Royal Oak's athletes, who use the school buses to travel to away games. Teams will have to individually fundraise to buy their own transportation. But Moline said he expects teams will cope by arranging carpools, which they have this year since the district does not provide return transportation from off-campus games.

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Last updated March 11 2010: 1:59 PM ET
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