Editorial: School funding shortfall will bring hardship
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2001
The first possible cut stemming from the school district’s budget situation is a visible one, yet one that hasn’t gotten much attention: Bus service.
Wednesday, November 21, 2001
The first possible cut stemming from the school district’s budget situation is a visible one, yet one that hasn’t gotten much attention: Bus service. And if the district decides to cut back on busing, the youngest students are the ones who stand to be affected the most.
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For high schoolers, those who live within two miles of the school are already not bused. That is the maximum legal limit. But elementary schoolers had been held to a limit of one mile until now, and middle schoolers one-and-a-half miles. If the school board decides to trim its bus service, all students within two miles of their school will need to find their own transportation or pay on their own to provide bus service.
That’s probably just as some would like to see it. That way, all of us aren’t paying for these costs – the people who use it are.
But that isn’t how public education is supposed to work.
The point of public education is that all students and their families are to have equal access and equal opportunity. Asking high schoolers to walk or drive if they live within two miles may be reasonable, because they’re older; elementary kids, however, can’t be expected to walk two miles. And eliminating their bus service would add a hardship for at least some parents, if not many of them. These families will suddenly have unequal access to school services – unless they pay their own way. But this is not supposed to be a pay-as-you go system.
The school’s budgetary problems have many sources – inequitable state funding, declining enrollment, the levy defeat – but this is at least one indication that whatever the reasons, the results are going to be unfortunate for real kids.