Monday, February 9, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round part 2

I was given a brilliant and simple solution to the transportation expense issue.

Charge the folks for the transportation costs related to their choosing to enroll their children in the "out of area" program.

This has precedent and many benefits including:
  • many school situations already charge user fees (ie parking, sports, etc)
  • it maintains choice and ensures the general fund is not paying for the "choice" privilege
  • it can be applied to each unique offering that requires non-standard "house to school" transportation (including existing programs)
  • it frees parents from dropping off the kids

Worst case there can be a sliding fee scale to ensure equal access. Seems like a slam dunk !!!! So why wouldn't we do it?



Christine said...

I agree with you John. If 281 had to cut "bricks and mortar" spending to protect teaching and learning programs, it seems that they should also think carefully about spending money on buses and gas instead of teaching and learning programs.
Anoka-Hennepin schools provides bus service only for students who live more than two miles from their assigned neighborhood school. Anyone else gets charged $195 per kid per year.
281 would certainly not be out of bounds to provide transportation to the neighborhood school, and to charge parents for transportation services if they choose something else.

Christine said...

Cost of the middle school choice transportation: $375,000.
Unanticipated (?) additional cost of elementary transportation after the school closures: $150,000.

Over a half million spent on additional transportation. So much for "This plan will help students by sustaining our referendum promises to lower class size and restore programs."

John said...

Source of the numbers?

Technically it is not an increased expense since we are paying for it today. However, I certainly would prefer an additional 15 - 20 teachers and/or Educational Assistants in the academically challenged schools. Rather than paying for buses, drivers and fuel.

Teachers would be a much better investment for improving "Report Cards" and strengthening the community schools. With this in mind I still think the "choice" folks should pay transportation fees, and I have gotten no comments explaining why they should not...

Christine said...

I was given the figures by a member of the FAC and confirmed by two members of the school board. The $375,000 is on the website under the unofficial summary of the 2/9 work session link.
That $375K was in the process of being phased out, so while we are paying now, we would not have been paying it in the future.