[Vision2020] Meridian School Bus Controversy

Ron Force rforce2003 at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 23 08:52:59 PDT 2010

Many parents blame the changes on the Legislature.

In slashing $128 million from the state's public education budget for 2010-11, 
lawmakers ordered a 10 percent cut in how much each district is reimbursed for 
the previous year's busing costs. For Meridian, with more than 35,000 students, 
that meant $1 million in lost transportation money, plus another $369,744 in 
lost funding because its per-mile cost last year of $3.68, and per-rider cost of 
$881 were above the state average of $3.47 and $835.

District finance director Alex Simpson said each year the state gives a district 
85 percent of what it paid for transportation the previous year. So the latest 
10 percent cut ordered by lawmakers means Meridian's transportation funding from 
the state will be 25 percent below what it cost to operate its bus system last 

Brad Jensen, director of transportation for the Idaho State Department of 
Education, said he has been receiving "all kinds of calls" from parents since 
districts announced major cuts would result in changes.
Meridian has had to cut their school bus services and parents are upset. An 
excerpt from the story in the Statesman:

"A child walking a mile-and-a-half is a long way," Jensen said. "As a parent, I 
would be concerned, too. But we can't bankrupt the transportation budget. The 
money is just not in the checkbook."

Things could get worse. Lawmakers have told districts that continuing high 
unemployment and stagnant sales tax revenues could mean mid-year holdbacks of up 
to 5.5 percent.

Ali Hinshaw, president of the Sawtooth Middle School Parent-Teacher Association, 
said she has a solution.

"We need to get some new people in the Legislature, because right now education 
is not a priority," Hinshaw said. "They're just a bunch of farmers. And until 
our kids are more important than cattle, nothing is going to change."

Read more: 

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mailman.fsr.com/pipermail/vision2020/attachments/20100723/be17933d/attachment-0001.html 

More information about the Vision2020 mailing list