Friday, December 16, 2011

State transportation budget cuts mean 'huge inequities' between urban and rural schools

Many California schools face transportation budget cuts as Gov. Jerry Brown announced a $248 million cut from home-to-school transportation. The state has reimbursed 35 percent of transportation costs, but will reduce it to nearly 17 percent if this proposal goes through, Marc Benjamin of The Fresno Bee reports. California is not the only state considering cuts to school transportation, but what many states fail to realize is the impact is much greater to rural schools than urban.

Sierra Unified, a school in Auberry, Calif., will lose $335 per student if these cuts go through while Burbank Unified in Los Angeles County will lose only $10 per student, Benjamin reports. This creates "huge inequities," Stephen Rhoads of the California Association of School Transportation Officials told Benjamin. Rhoads is working with others to produce a budget that distributes those cuts evenly between districts.

If Brown's proposal becomes law, transportation funding will be cut at the end of January, leaving many rural districts using general funds for transportation. "We are not going to stop transporting kids to schools, John Clements, transportation director for Kings Canyon Unified School District, which transports about 44 percent of its 10,000 students, told Benjamin. "The funding will come out of our reserve in our general fund," taking funds from classrooms. The result may mean larger class sizes, fewer employees, and reduced services for students, Supt. David East told Benjamin. (Read more)

1 comment:

Bill Stanley said...

The focus of public schools should be educating. Cuts in taxpayer funding of public schools should start with transportation, food and athletics. California has become the first state to completely eliminate transportation funding for public schools, saving the taxpayers $248 million. The same drivers using the same buses and vans would be happy to continue transporting students for fees paid by parents. Other parents can form car pools. Parents unable to drive in car pools can pay car pools a fee for their kids to participate. Other students can walk or ride a bicycle to school. If you do not think parents should pay for the transportation of their kids, why is it okay to advocate that the government force strangers to do so?