The Loudoun County School Board is considering charging for school bus rides, after years of budget shortfalls.
The school board will appeal to the state legislature about charging a fare. Under current Virginia law, school systems are not required to provide bus transportation, but if they do, the rides must be free.
Budget shortfalls varying between $30 million and $40 million during recent years have left administrators between a rock and a hard place.
"It's hard for us to keep up, so we're just trying to find every way we can to ensure we're offering our students educational items rather than the transportation," Loudoun County School Board Vice Chair Jill Turgeon. "We have to choose between one or the other ... and we want to focus on education."
Parents are shocked at the idea of a free ride suddenly becoming costly.
"I don't like the idea. We've had years where they've been riding, they can cut the budget in other places. It doesn't have to be towards the school," one parent said.
Officials haven't yet announced what the fares would be if the school system is allowed to implement it.