South-Western City Schools officials said at Monday's board of education meeting that more than 6,200 students who normally ride a school bus will lose busing service if the levy fails in May.

South-Western City Schools officials said at Monday's board of education meeting that more than 6,200 students who normally ride a school bus will lose busing service if the levy fails in May.

According to district information, 500 elementary school, 800 middle school and nearly 5,000 high school students will no longer be eligible to ride a district bus. About 12,000 students would continue to be eligible to ride buses.

Assistant Superintendent Phil Warner said during the March 23 board meeting that several committees have been formed to devise plans to execute nearly $8-million in budget cuts if Issue 15, an 8.3-mill, four-year operating levy, fails in May.

"The more we talk, the more complicated it gets," Warner said. "With all that said, though, the focus is on the levy efforts."

Board members approved the $8-million in cuts without levy passage in early February.

Warner said they will vote on the execution plan for the cuts at their meeting on April 27.

If the levy fails, preliminary plans call for the termination of high school busing, expansion of walking boundaries to a one-mile radius for students in grades kindergarten through sixth and a two-mile radius for those in seventh and eighth grades.

"This is really a temperature check for us to make sure we heard the board correctly," Superintendent Bill Wise said.

The district's transportation supervisor, Tim Cox, said Norton Middle School, for example, would have four bus routes eliminated, affecting 228 students. Some students would need to cross West Broad Street on their way to and from school.

"We believe they can cross West Broad (Street) safely," Wise said.

Wise said students at Darby Woods Elementary School, however, will not be expected to walk across West Broad Street.

Some Darby Woods students would have to cross Norton Road, which Cox said presents a safety concern.

"The services are needed; they're important but we simply can't afford them," Warner said. "We want our kids getting to school safely and on time, and getting home safely and on time.

"A yes vote on May the fifth will bring those services back."

With levy passage, district officials would only have to cut $1.6-million from the budget, which would not affect busing.

"Hopefully, we pass Issue 15 and this doesn't get enacted," board president Cathy Johnson said.