Let's Give Busing A Chance

I pulled out of my driveway this morning and saw one elementary student get on our school bus. I could not see any other kids on the bus. This is a ridiculous waste of our resources. It appears busing for elementary students will be at the top of the list of services and programs to be eliminated in the next round of budget cuts. This service is broken and before it is eliminated I think the district should fix it and then give it a fair test.

We are already paying for the bus drivers, the maintenance, and the fuel to take an empty bus to school. It wouldn’t cost anything extra to fill it up with students. The district should experiment by offering free busing for every elementary student for one month, the additional costs would be relatively small. Refunding one month's charge for the few families who have paid for a year of busing and the additional administrative hours that may be required to get permission slips signed by parents are the only costs I can see. If busing were free, I'm sure the buses would be full. The traffic conditions and the safety for our kids would improve.  How much, I don’t know and no one will know until we make a serious effort to give busing a chance. If we eliminate elementary school busing, it will probably never be reinstated.

If, as I predict, traffic is significantly improved, then the district can work on finding a reasonable fee to charge families that will keep participation high and minimize traffic congestion. A lower fee may still result in the district taking a net loss on busing but if our buses were full, it would eliminate the need to use public funds to redesign the parking lots and streets around our schools.  It would reduce our family gas budgets and improve morale for parents on their way to work. With less traffic and fewer parents in a hurry to get to work, safety would definitely improve. If we could put a price on our kids’ safety, whatever the low priced busing costs the district, it would be a bargain.  Dr. Kayrell, what is the downside of giving this a try?

Who says I’m always negative and not willing to offer any solutions?