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FRAMINGHAM – On a recommendation from District 3 School Committee member Jennifer Moshe, the Framingham School Committee voted 8-0 to refund bus fees for families at its meeting on Wednesday night.

The Framingham Public Schools will refund 425 families a total of $114,750.

There are about 9,275 students in the Framingham Public Schools.

“We have many families that have paid for a service and are essentially paying for it twice. They must get their kids to school by alternate means, which in some cases, actually, in all cases, when busses have not been on time, is costing these families more money in fuel and time, possibly hiring alternative means of transportation I propose we refund the money paid to all 425 families and use the money that has not been paid to NRT for underperforming on their contract. I would target more families that are experiencing inefficient service, but feel that would be a waste of time and resources. While I understand it causes more work, it is the right thing to do from a customer service standpoint,” said Moshe on Wednesday night.

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Moshe said as she is the parent of a bused child, she would decline the reimbursement.

Framingham Public Schools Director of Finance & Operations Lincoln Lynch IV said the refunds may not come to families until April.

NRT, the district’s bus company is contracted to provide 77 bus drivers.

On the first day of school, NRT only provided 60 bus drivers.

As of February 1, Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay said NRT is short about 20 bus drivers.

“Our transportation company continues to fail our students by providing, on a good day, 20 less drivers than the city has contracted to have,” the Superintendent said.

Due to the shortage, some bus are as much as 30 to 45 minutes late picking up students some day for school and that late picking up students at the end of the day, too.

“The process to refund takes a significant amount of time,” Lynch told the School Committee Wednesday night. “If the person paying the bus fee is already in our accounting system, it isn’t too difficult. But if they are not, we have to submit each person as an individual vendor, which means we have to reach out to the families to make sure we have the correct information. Based on past experience, this is a long process, so I just want to set the expectation that while the goal is around the middle of April, it could take longer and we would have to get this done by the end of the fiscal year.”

Lynch said the money would come from money that the district is not paying NRT.

The School Committee vote was 8-0. District 2 School Committee member David Gordon was not in attendance.

This is not the first time the School Committee has refunded bus fees. The School Committee did it twice during the pandemic years.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.