New 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.
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.
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.
– 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.