Omar Villafranca, NBCDFW.com
School board members approve a pay-to-ride plan for students riding the bus.
The Keller Independent School District is moving forward with a plan to charge students to ride a bus to school.
Starting in the 2011-2012 school year, parents will have to pay $185 per semester to ride the bus to school. Additional students will cost a family an additional $135 per student per semester.
Economically disadvantaged parents will pay $100 per child per semester to ride the bus.
Parents will have to pay the first semester's bill up front because school starts next month.
Officials with Durham Transportation told board members the system will eventually be on a payment system. The details of any payment plan have not yet been worked out.
Larry West, a regional manager with the United Educators Association, told reporters that the teacher's union will help some kids offset the cost.
Parent Laura Gramble would have to fork over $320 next month for her two children to ride the bus.
"They're going to have to find another way to get to school," she said. "I mean, I can't afford it. I'm a single mom."
Gamble said walking or riding bikes to school was not an option for her children.
"There is construction almost three-fourths of the way to my children's school," she said. "We live three and a half miles from school -- three and a half."
"We're really in a rock and a hard place, because our options are, from what we understand, pay to ride or drive your kid to school," said Jennifer Rosenthal, another Keller ISD parent. "For those of us that work and rely on the buses, it's a bad situation."
Durham Transportation, the company that was also the district's previous bus provider, will likely manage the paid-rider program using bus passes with an RFID chip to verify a student's account.
According to a report in the Star-Telegram, the district has about 7,000 students who live more than two miles from school.
NBC DFW's Frank Heinz contributed to this report.