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.