Dave Scott

A cost-cutting move by Akron Public Schools is phasing out a service with ties to the desegregation days.

As a result, 198 high school freshmen will be looking for a new way to school because they will no longer get free passes to use Metro RTA buses. The district will save about $400,000.

The program began in 1977 when the schools agreed to what was called the Akron Plan, aimed at eliminating racial segregation, according to board member Lisa Mansfield. That plan was made unnecessary by an open-enrollment policy in 2010 that allows students to attend any district high school.

The busing program continued, however, and 436 high school students were transported on Metro buses last year, according to Dan Rambler, director of student support services.

This year, the board decided to cut costs by excluding freshmen from the program. Rambler said 238 upperclassmen continue to get the passes this year.

Rambler said the schools will seek options for students who are hurt by the move, especially homeless families who might be eligible for a program called Project Rise. Call 330-761-2969 for more information.

He also said students can purchase monthly RTA passes for $50.

Dave Scott can be reached at 330-996-3577 or davescott@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Scott on Twitter at Davescottofakro.