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School busNew York spends more money per pupil – $1,100 – on transportation than any other state. The state’s spending on transportation doubled in ten years to $2.97 billion in 2010. Student transportation accounts for about 5.7 percent of school budgets. A report from the Citizens Budget Commission urges the state and school districts to control these growing costs.

Three out of four students in New York State gets a ride. The figure is higher Upstate – 84 percent. State policy is to provide free transportation to students, but some districts give rides to students at shorter distances than required.

Adding to the cost, state law requires private school students get public transportation. Forty-one percent of non-public students get taxpayer-funded rides to school.

The report says there are few incentives for districts to reduce transportation costs because of state aid formulas. For example, some districts, including the Rochester City School District, get 90 percent of transportation costs reimbursed by the state.

The Albany Times Union reports:

New York schools transport about 2.3 million students a day, said Peter Mannella, spokesman for the New York Association for Pupil Transportation. He said the modern school district is spread out in larger centralized buildings. “We’ve constructed schools in a way that they’re not in a neighborhood anymore,” he said. “There’s no getting around the fact that costs something.”

But then how does one explain the RCSD’s $1,501 per pupil transportation cost? The districts spends $50 million on busing, despite the fact the city is dense and many schools are within walking distance of homes. The RCSD’s transportation costs are higher than spread-out, suburban districts in Monroe County. Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said neighborhood schools must be explored. Transportation issues, including students missing the bus was a factor cited by parents of truant students.

The Citizens Budget Commission urges the state to lower reimbursement for transportation, forcing districts to economize.

Look up your school district’s transportation costs with an interactive map.

Links of the Day:

– The Seneca County man suspected of killing his son and his first wife gave a jailhouse interview in which he claims he has a lot of bad luck.

Kirsten Gillibrand no longer has guns under her bed.

– Jim Boeheim says he doesn’t have a computer and won’t be able to read newspapers online.

– “8 to 1: Men with receding hairlines vs. men with ponytails.” A review of the Genesee Brew House.

8 Responses to Free Rides Adding Up

  1. Wondered if you caught the police taking the kids shopping? It’s a great thing,but won’t you’d think they would shop in Monroe county not Ontario ?

  2. Looks like we could save money by having the kids take a taxi to/from school. That would also eliminate teens hanging out and causing trouble at city bus transfer zones.

  3. Kids who go to private school need transportation and the parents pay taxes. Its important, the high school city kids have to fair RTS buses which don’t go directly to Mercy ans some Urban Suburban schools. That can be very difficult. Many city parents also send their kids to other schools outside the neighborhood because they can’t have their kids walk in dangerous neighborhoods. Parents with babies and young children often can’t walk their school age children to school in inclement weather or pick them up. There are also employment issues and low paying jobs which don’t allow time off. If cost is considered the most important issue, vulnerable people will be the losers. Don’t think all private school kids are privileged either, many kids get scholarships and tor poor kids it may be their ticket to college and out of poverty.

  4. My thoughts….now that we have heard from Lynn e about all the reasons why all kids have to be bused, I wonder why it has to cost so much. I asked a retired friend why he drives a school bus. His reply….full health care at no cost. Summers and holidays are off and he only works a few hours in the morning and afternoon. I’m sure this contributes to the cost. I would like to see neighborhood schools. I think going to school with your friends from the neighborhood is a plus. This should result in less busing, especially for middle school age and above. Think it would help the youth obesity issue as well. This is a win, win, win.

  5. How come it’s ok for suburban parents to ask for every possible security system inside of school and not acceptable and cost effective for poor people to have their kids bused to school because their neighborhoods are undeniably unsafe? The comments they get are that their kids are fat and need exercise and the bus drivers fey health insurance? Something is wrong in this world.

  6. Parents of children who do not attend city schools still have to pay taxes, which go toward the RCSD. If they return my school taxes I would be happy to transport my own child.

  7. A few of the reasons it is so expensive is as follows:

    Its a chauffeur service not a bus service – kids don’t have to walk a half mile to a common stop they are picked up at their door.

    The union has built in rules that make it very costly to go to events that are more than an hour away. You need 2 drives to make a game in Elmira for example.

    Across the state – we have the Adirondacks park the largest park in the US. IT likely has 10 School districts serving within the park. Its not unusual for kids to have 45 minutes one way trips via a school bus. Those costs ad up. And Do some research you will find out many Chinese kids are coming to the US and going to those schools to fill up the classroom and then take what they learned back to china.

    Kids that stay late at school still have bus service after sports practice etc. Yet most never use the late bus.

    People that live in remote areas still have their kids pick up at the door.

    Buses take kids all over during the day. This is due to having many “agendas” to cater to. IE a homeless person with kids in one SD can get their kids pick up and dropped off at a homeless shelter.

    The list is endless of these “specials”. Have the bus come to the “hood” once in the AM once in the PM.. and to costs will go way down to where they should be.

  8. December 31, 2014 at 12:26 pm Christopher City Resident responds:

    My children attend a private school in the city. We live in the city. We do not recieve RCSD provided transportation because of how close the school is to our home. I keep waiting for some kind of rebate check from overpaid taxes, but it never comes. You’re welcome for the forced contribution. The schools have becoming nothing more than a buffett for special intrests and unions. It reflects in the product they are putting out.

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