The Politics of School Busing

June 28th, 2010

Category: News

It’s hard to imagine how complex the politics and policies are for something as simple as getting kids to school. The Governor’s proposal to reform transportation funding, in part by cost requiring districts to cover 25 percent of the cost, was not met with much receptivity, and the Joint Finance Committee ultimately reversed the proposal.

Alignment with the LEAD Committee’s recommendations has been argued, but there are some problems with that, among them: (1) the LEAD Committee was created to identify funds that could be reallocated for other educational purposes, such as expanding access to early childhood—not cutting the budget, and (2) the LEAD Committee recommended revising the transportation allocation system—not who pays—including route management and competitive bidding.

The latest proposal, in epilogue language, would create a—quite limited— committee to report to the Office of Management and Budget and Controller General by October 15, 2010 on county wide pupil transportation, which includes a review of new routes and process for adding new ones and consolidating and streamlining the contracting process.

This year, since the budget had to be released 10 days before the end of session, there are opportunities for discussion and debate…but rather than opening up for amendments and floor discussions on the budget bill, Grant-in-Aid may be the ticket for any almost-final changes. Stay tuned after Monday though, because it’s not over until it’s July 1…at least.

Madeleine Bayard



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