November 4, 2011 by staff
Seattle, Washington, The yellow school bus could become another victim of the Great Recession in parts of Washington.
Gov. Chris Gregoire does not want to stop seeing their state to spend money for the children to school. However, any apprehension on student transportation cuts is not enough to keep that idea and 220 million from its list of possible ways to deal with budget deficits, the last one and two billion one.
Tough decisions are the rule of the day in almost every state in the U.S. economy in the rough.
But things have gotten so bad that it’s time to tell children to find their own way to school? Washington would be the first to completely eliminate the state dollars for the bus service because of the recent recession, said Bob Riley, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. He noted that some states, including California and Colorado, have reduced school transportation dollars in previous years.
Gregoire has raised the idea before a special legislative session later this month. It is sending lawmakers a long list of ideas, many of them are expected to hurt the common people.
The Democratic governor’s proposal was the subject of discussion at a bus stop for students in Normandy Park, Washington, on Thursday morning. Debra Carnes, who was waiting for the bus with her fourth grader, said the idea horrible – but it’s better to cut the money goes to the classroom. He wondered what impact in assisting low-income students and those new to the U.S.
“Our family, we will find out. But there is much out there that struggle,” he said.
All states do not help pay to bus students to school – although transport of children with disabilities is required by federal law – but most do, Riley said. About half of the children of the nation’s public school ride in a yellow school bus, their estimates of the association.
States pay between 30 and 100 percent of the cost of student transportation in most places, including 67 percent in the state of Washington. The dollars are not distributed evenly across Washington, however, with some districts on the basis of 100 percent of the state transportation dollars and other dollars to fill up with local revenue.
Riley says the idea of ??reducing the money for buses is problematic for several reasons – safety of students in more traffic and air pollution from parents to their children deal with the impact it can have on attendance.
Washington state schools chief Randy Dorn says there is a greater focus on: the state Constitution requires the state government to pay more than the costs of basic education as defined by the state Legislature. Transportation of students is part of the definition of basic education and although it has been a long time since the State has paid the entire cost of busing children to school, that does not mean you should not even try, he said.
Jim Crawford, a supercomputer number of education in the Office of Financial Management of State, said that the definition of basic education is open for debate.
“Because it is basic ed, does not mean you can not always play under any circumstances,” said Crawford, adding that the Legislature would have to adjust the definition to make way for many of the ideas the governor to cut state budget of education.
State Rep. Ross Hunter, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, believes that most of the elements listed in the governor’s education cuts prohibited. Other proposals in the governor’s list include increasing class sizes, reduce the school year for a week and eliminating full-day kindergarten.
“The Constitution either means something or not,” said D-Medina, a suburb east of Seattle. “If not, can we dispense with the other parts too?”
Hunter was not willing to offer their own list this week, but says, by way of example, that the Legislature has followed the rules and pay 100 percent of debt service the state every year, because the Constitution requires it. He said the same argument could be used to argue for the payment of basic education.
Dorn said he is waiting for assistance from the Washington Supreme Court, which is deliberating on a demand for school expenses. School districts, education and community groups and parents are suing the state to require compliance with its constitutional obligation to pay for basic education. A trial judge ruled in favor of school districts. When the Supreme Court considered a similar case in the 1970s ordered the Legislature to take more seriously the Constitution.
Seattle Public Schools, the state’s largest school district stands to lose more than the idea of ??the governor of the school bus. The state currently pays only 50 percent of the cost to transport children in Seattle, but that adds up to about 15.7 million and a year, said Tom Bishop, transportation manager for the district.
The bishop said school administrators have been working for years on a mission school in the neighborhood and the transportation plan designed to reduce the number of children taking the bus. At the same time, the district hopes to prevent more parents driving their children, without an increase in truancy, because as the bishop said, Seattle is one of the 10 busiest cities in the country.
But even with nearly 16 million on the line, the bishop is not crazy.
“The fiscal crisis facing Washington is historical and the governor’s proposals for budget cuts are an indication of the seriousness of the situation,” he said. The bishop was not prepared to predict how the district would be responsible for a budget cut, as the governor proposes.
Meanwhile, Seattle is working toward a future in which many children will walk to school.
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