FAMILIES may have to pay £50 towards sending their children to school by bus.
Parents, schools and other key groups are invited to have a say on whether parents of pupils attending the county's church voluntary aided schools should make a contribution of £50 a term per child towards school bus transport.
Three months ago the county council agreed in principle to introduce charging for transport to Church-aided schools - six, mainly RC, secondary schools and 53 CE and RC voluntary aided primary schools - from September 2007.
Forty-four other voluntary controlled primary schools are unaffected as they are treated in the same way as community schools in relation to school transport provision.
From that date, reception pupils in Church-aided primary and infant schools, those transferring from Church-aided infant to junior schools, others starting their first year at Church-aided secondary schools and pupils new to the county, and entering a Church-aided school for the first time, will face the new charges.
Where the church school is designated as the 'local' school, such as a voluntary aided school serving the community, exemptions will apply.
Children already in Church-aided primary, infant, junior and secondary schools and also in receipt of free school transport will continue to be exempt from charges while they remain there but will become eligible for charges when they move school.
Consultation with parents started yesterday and will be completed by August 15 with the county council due to consider the findings on September 7.
Councillor David Rowlands, executive member for Children's Services, said: 'In 2005-06, the county council had a total mainstream transport budget of around £8m for its 13,000 pupils. Of this, £2m related to transport for 2,680 children to faith schools. The proposed charge is estimated to produce £265,000 towards that bill.'