Over 2,400 students are planning to walk out of their classes at noon today to protest the end of the free student MetroCard. The MTA has proposed cutting the free transportation, which costs $214 million, to help close a huge budget gap, but students argue they'll be hurting. One told WCBS 2, "I live really far from school. I would have to pay all the time to get to school," while another argued, "I live in Queens and go to school in Brooklyn. I can't pay to go to school every day."

According to the Post, "The mass exodus will affect 23 high schools in Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Queens, and will end with a rally outside City Hall. There, students will meet up with members of the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the United Federation of Teachers and demand that local and state officials fork over more money for the transit passes."

The MTA's current proposal is for students to be charged half price for 2010 and then be charged full price in 2011, but the Wall Street Journal suggests there could be a breakthrough: MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin is "optimistic" the students will ride for free and Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) said, "The sentiment of almost everybody in our conference is that the money has to be put in there." Still, a spokeswoman for the Urban Youth Collaborative, which is organizing the walkout and protest, said, "It's still a threat because the Senate in their budget proposal has $65 million to MetroCards and the Assembly is still at $35 million, and it's not enough."

As for the DOE's thoughts on a walkout: "It's a regular school day and we expect students to be in school. It's a very important time because there's Regents test prep going on and we have a lot of final projects for middle-school students."