From The Philadelphia Inquirer: The Philadelphia school district and area transportation officials are close to a deal to save free transit passes for students. Officials say they are optimistic the existing program will not be eliminated by the cash-strapped school district. The transit agency, SEPTA, apparently has offered to give the school district more time to pay for the student passes. The school district has complained that it has had to wait more than a year for reimbursement from the state for its purchases of the passes from SEPTA. The school district pays about $26 million a year for passes for 45,000 district and nonpublic students who live beyond walking distance of their schools. The state reimburses the district for about 85 percent of the money, and SEPTA gives the district a credit to cover the other 15 percent.