Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rural students in California are hit hardest by school transportation cuts

Rural schools in California will be hit especially hard by school transportation funding cuts beginning Jan. 1 because for some students, buses are their only way to and from school. The cuts are in effect for the remainder of the fiscal year to help alleviate the state's debt, reports Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times. Next year, they will likely get nothing. (Wikipedia map)

Nowhere are the cuts felt more than in the Death Valley Unified School District, Watanabe reports. Nine students living in the Native American village of Furnace Creek must ride 120 miles to their school in Shoeshone. According to the California School Boards Association, the district spends $3,500 per student per year on transportation, compared to $26 in more populated districts. State funding is based on transportation costs, and some rural districts lose about $200 per student. Districts must find money to transport students or stop busing them. In Death Valley, 85 percent of students are low-income and their families can't afford personal transportation. (Read more)

Educators have said transportation cuts are "particularly unfair" to small and rural districts. They are trying to reverse the cuts with legal action, letter-writing campaigns and legislative lobbying. Some say if cuts are necessary, they should be distributed equally across districts. The Southern Humboldt Unified School District in northern California is organizing a protest in the state capital nest Tuesday, Virginia Graziani of the Redwood Times reports.

1 comment:

Cinnamon O'Neill Paula said...

chnBus Stop To Nowhere-
Southern Humboldt Chapter
We are Californians from the Southern Humboldt County region who see the latest State School transportation cuts as the further demise of public education in our state. If we continue to let someone else fix this problem, we will have no public schools left in California other than possibly in the more densely populated areas. It is now or never to take a last stand to keep our public education system equally available to all of the children in this state. Don’t let the state limit an education to only those who have their own vehicle. We want education to thrive, not starve!